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    Downtrend in unemployment

    The total number of unemployed persons numbered around 10,956 in 2021 compared to 16,630 in 2020.

    This resulted in a decrease of the unemployment rate from 7.3 per cent to 4.9 per cent in 2020, especially among the local population (10,800 persons or 98.6 per cent), the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (DEPS) of the Ministry of Finance and Economy’s Labour Force Survey (LFS) 2021 report stated.

    The decrease is likely due to local jobseekers’ filling jobs in several industrial sectors previously dominated by foreign workers. The construction industry showed the most significant increase in local workers followed by transportation and storage, information and communication industry, service activities and others, the report added.

    The decrease in the number of unemploy-ed persons is also due to the increase in the population outside the labour force, especially those who have furthered their studies, undergone training courses and have family or household responsibilities, it added.

    The DEPS released the report based on the final data from the LFS 2021 conducted simultaneously with the Third Stage of the Population and Housing Census (BPP) 2021 from December 1 to 31, 2021.

    The main objective of LFS 2021 was to collect latest information on size, structure, distribution and characteristics of the labour force, employment, unemployment and other economic characteristics of the population, which will be used to assist in the planning, research, policy-making and management concerning the labour force.

    The survey covered about 3,200 selected households throughout the country using systematic sampling method.

    Data obtained from the selected households were extrapolated according to the sampling weights and then calibrated to represent the total population living in regular households in the Sultanate.

    Results from LFS 2021 have shown that there was a total of about 76,600 households and 350,300 persons aged 15 and above.

    Other findings in the report include labour force participation, employed population and the population outside the labour force.

    Labour force participation went down to 63.8 per cent in 2021 from 65.5 per cent in 2020.

    This is due to a decrease in the number of jobseekers and an increase of individuals who have went out of the labour force.

    The employed population increased by 0.6 per cent in 2021 which is 212,400 persons, compared to 211,100 persons in 2020.

    The increase is due to local workers filling jobs in several industrial sectors previously dominated by non-local workers.

    Local workers accounted for 71.0 per cent (150,800 persons) of the total labour force, while 29.0 per cent (61,600 persons) were non-local workers.

    About 92.1 per cent (195,500 persons) were employees, while those who worked as own-account workers accounted for 4.7 per cent (10,100 persons).

    A total of 67,000 persons (31.5 per cent) were employed in the government sector which included activities of public administration and government services such as education, health, electricity and water services.

    Meanwhile, around 145,400 persons (68.5 per cent) were employed in the private sector.

    By type of occupation, service and sales workers accounted for the highest share of 21.8 per cent (46,200 persons).

    The average monthly income from all jobs in 2021 was BND1,536 per employed person compared to BND1,755 in 2020. Local workers earned a higher income of BND1,710, while the non-local workers earned BND1,110 per month on average.

    Meanwhile, the median income from employment was BND880 compared to BND850 in 2020.

    The median income for local and non-local workers was BND1,010 and BND600.

    The average hours worked in the main job increased to 47.1 hours in a week from 44.4 hours in a week in 2020.

    The number of persons outside the labour force increased by 6.1 per cent from 119,700 persons in 2020 to 127,000 persons in 2021.

    Consisting of female population at 58.6 per cent, local population at 90.5 per cent, youth aged 15 to 24 at 34.3 per cent and those with highest education attained with secondary level at 66.6 per cent.

    Out of the 127,000 persons outside the labour force, there were 93.0 per cent not actively looking for a job and not ready to work because they are still studying, undergoing training courses, have family or household responsibilities, or have retired.

    Meanwhile, seven-per-cent of persons outside the labour force were either actively looking for jobs but were not available or not actively looking for jobs but are available.

    A few additional questions related to the impact of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic were included in the LFS 2021 questionnaire, as recommended by the ILO for LFS 2020 before.

    About 40 per cent (84,900 persons) of the total employed population has experienced changes in their working conditions such as changes in the total working hours, changes of work place or location or working from home.

    For the unemployed in 2021, about 2.6 per cent or 300 persons were among those who had jobs in 2020, but were no longer working in 2021.

    Of these 300 persons, 67.5 per cent (195 persons) had loss of paid employment or temporary employment had ended, 13.3 per cent (38 persons) temporary closure of facilities and premises, 11.2 per cent (32 persons) had to quit or to take leave because of injury, illness or quarantine; and 7.9 per cent (23 persons) were on temporary leave or waiting for a callback.

    The labour force statistics obtained from the LFS from 2017 to 2020 are also revised based on the final data of the Population and Housing Census 2021 and the LFS 2021.

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