Saudi Arabia's economy shrinks 7% in Q2, joblessness at record high

Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted 7 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier as citizen unemployment hit its highest level on record, illustrating the damage wrought by the oil market turmoil combined with the coronavirus pandemic.


The oil sector shrank an annual 5.3 per cent, while the non-oil sector declined by 8.2 per cent, according to data released on Wednesday by the statistics authority. The non-oil private sector — the engine of job creation —contracted by more than 10 per cent.


Labour statistics released at the same time showed that citizen unemployment rose to 15.4 per cent during April to June, the highest level recorded in data that goes back two decades. That, despite a government stimulus program that covered 60 per cent of salaries for many Saudi workers.


The world’s largest oil exporter is facing a dual crisis this year as the pandemic, energy output cuts and lower crude prices combine to derail a fragile economic recovery from the last oil-price rout.

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