Saudi Arabia's economy grew by 9.6% in the first quarter of 2022 according to flash estimates by the General Authority for Statistics (Gastat).
Early figures record the highest rate of growth since 2011 driven by a 20.4% increase in the oil sector, most notably crude oil and natural gas. Conversely, non-oil activity increased the growth of the Arab world’s largest economy by 3.7%, bolstered by a 2.4% increase in government services activity.
Gastat adopts simplified assumptions related to production, expenditure, income, price and foreign trade to determine its flash estimates.
Overall Saudi Arabia's economy has recovered strongly from the impact of the pandemic and is forecast to grow 7.7% this year, up from 3.2% last year, helped by higher oil prices and a robust non-oil sector.
In the same vein, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also revised its growth forecast for OPEC’s biggest producer in its latest World Economic Outlook. It expects the Saudi economy to grow by 7.6% this year, up 2.8 percentage points from its January estimates. The IMF also predicts a 3.6% increase in 2023, slightly higher than previously forecasted. Likewise, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings has affirmed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at A-/A-2 and expects 5.8% growth this year followed by an average increase of 2.7% from 2023 to 2025.
According to a recent report by Jadwa Investment, hiring activity has also picked up as the economy rebounds. Saudi citizens participation in the job market rose to 51.5% in 2021 while the number of Saudis employed in the private sector rose to 1.91 million over the same period. Conversely, the unemployment rate among Saudi nationals is expected to drop to 10.7% in 2022 and 10.4% in 2023 as the economy continues to recover.
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