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Kuwait records highest annual job losses in 30 years

Expatriate workers at a Kuwaiti health ministry containment and screening zone for COVID-19 coronavirus disease in Kuwait City on 15 March 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images]
Expatriate workers at a Kuwaiti health ministry containment and screening zone for COVID-19 coronavirus disease in Kuwait City on 15 March 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images]

The number of jobs in Kuwait decreased by 4.2 per cent during 2020, recording the highest annual employment losses in nearly 30 years, due to the repercussions of the coronavirus crisis.

According to a report issued by the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest bank in the country, yesterday, the decline was reflected in the modest rate of employment activity growth for Kuwaiti citizens and a sharp decline of jobs reserved for expatriates.

The report said that "the public sector performed well, recording a growth of 2.7 per cent compared to the private sector, which is partly attributed to the Kuwaitization efforts."

Kuwait is going through one of its worst economic crises due to the effects of the coronavirus and the global drop of oil prices, which constitutes the main source of more than 90 per cent of government revenues.

The report monitored a 5.2 per cent population decline in Kuwait in 2020, which is the highest in nearly 30 years, due to the remarkable decrease in the number of expatriates, as about 130,000 foreigners left the country.

The report pointed out that more than a third of Kuwait's population is under the age of 15, which highlights the importance of accelerating the pace of creating jobs.

The report anticipated the pace of foreign workers' departure to be maintained during the coming period in light of the proposed changes to the residency law, the continued implementation of nationalisation policies, and the layoffs as companies continue to tackle the effects of the economic crisis.

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