KUWAIT: The Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) issued a report during the second week of August 2022 on unemployed Kuwaitis according to the Civil Service Commission data as on 30/06/2022. Their number reached 8,318 versus 7,668 unemployed on 30/06/2021. They represent about 1.8 percent of the total number of Kuwaiti workers, estimated at 455,700 as on 30/06/2021, according to the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI). This means the unveiled unemployment rate. This unemployment is characterized as expected in some and exceptional in others. We will review them below and refer to our notes on the report, hoping the CSB adopts some of them.

What is expected is the extent of unveiled unemployment which appears to be low as long as the public sector employs regardless of its need. According to the citizens’ gender of the unemployed, males form about 41 percent and females represent 59 percent. It is also normal to see a decrease in the unemployed for those who have been unemployed for a longer time. They scored about 29.2 percent of the total for those who have been unemployed for six months or more and 70.8 percent for the unemployed recently.

?What is unusual and dangerous is the high unemployment rate of youth. About 76.4 percent of the unemployed are under 29 years of age, an indication of the continued inability of the economy to create job opportunities. With the temporary relief of public finance, that unhealthy phenomenon may be resolved by nominal employment or veiled unemployment. What is unusual is the high percentage of the unemployed among university degree holders, who scored 51.3 percent of the total unemployed. This indicates how education outputs do not match the labor market needs in both the public and private sectors.

It is also unusual that the unemployed with training courses scored about 84 percent of the total unemployed, while it does not exceed 16 percent for those who did not. This means that unemployment rises steadily with the increase in education levels and the increase in the number of those who obtained training courses. This is undoubtedly a unique Kuwaiti feature.

Our remarks on the report are perhaps more critical. The first observation is that the number of unemployed Kuwaiti personnel according to PACI in its latest report on population and labor force issued in June 2021 is 36,898 (about 7.2 percent), or about four times the number of the unemployed according to the CSB. The two figures must be unified as long as the two institutions official publish figures for the same country. We have recently pointed to the sharp discrepancy in the numbers of the two institutions regarding the numbers of expatriates. The second observation is that the report is simple, ie an annual report and the unemployment numbers are the most important.

In most countries, such reports are published monthly, and they are in-depth and detailed reports and an essential tool for economic policymakers. The third note is that what is more critical than unveiled unemployment at present is the veiled unemployment measured by the service type, quality and production cost compared to other countries. Its importance lies in emphasizing the loss of the workforce balance, which will continue if it continues to rise. The risk of ignoring it is grave. The fourth remark studies the incompatibility between education outputs and labor market requirements. This is important because it is a proactive action to avoid the risks of high levels of unemployment, both veiled and unveiled, as discussed in a previous report.

In conclusion, countries compete to highlight the quality and abundance of their information, the most important of which is those related to their human capital. Without this information, preventive or proactive policies cannot be formulated and implemented, and a sustainable economic entity cannot be built. - Al-Shall