KUWAIT: The Central Statistical Bureau’s Labor Market Information System released its most recent report, the Labor Force Survey 2014: Main Findings (October – December, 2014), just before the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which provides details, analysis and other statistical information concerning Kuwait’s labor market. The main findings include the fact that the labor force participation rate in Kuwait has reached 72 percent, and that the highest participation rate of the labor force in 2014 was recorded for the age group 25-34, reaching 86.7 percent. The results also indicate that the unemployment rate in Kuwait reached 2.9 percent in 2014, compared with 2.5 percent in 2008 and with 1.8 percent in 2003. They also show that in 2014, 20.1 percent of the workers in Kuwait are working in the government sector and 4.4 percent of them work in state-owned enterprises, compared to 59.6 percent who work in the private sector and 15.7 percent work in the household sector.
The accuracy and reliability of labor market information is crucial for meaningful labor market analysis and research, and for labor market policy development. The 2014 Kuwait Labor Force Survey (KLFS) collected information on households about their labor market activity. It provides estimates of employment and unemployment which are among the most timely and important measures of performance of the economy. KLFS data are used to produce other standard labor market indicators such as the participation rate, youth unemployment, inactivity, status in employment, etc. The KLFS also provides employment estimates by industry, occupation, public and private sector, hours worked and much more, all cross-classifiable by a variety of demographic characteristics.
Goals of the Kuwait Labor Force Survey 2014
This survey aims to identify the following:
(A) Labor force participation indicators.
(B) Economically active population indicators.
(C) Employed population indicators.
(D) Unemployment rates.
(E) Non-economically active population indicators
The labor force survey 2014 covered all Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaitis individuals, aged 15 years and over, living in private households, as well as members of collective households, whether in apartments or houses and gatherings workers belonging to companies. The following were excluded from this survey: residents of hotels, individuals living with private households temporarily for less than six months (visitors), non-Kuwaiti individuals who reside permanently with the family and found outside the country during the interviewer visit to his presence, even for less than six months, while the survey covered Kuwaiti individuals who, during the interviewer visit, found out of the country for a period of less than six months.
Concepts and Definitions
The concepts and definitions used in the KLFS are based on standard international definitions. The data as collected in the questionnaire can be used and combined to calculate the standard indicators of the labor force.
A. Economically active (inside the labor force): Economically active is defined as respondents aged 15 and older who were either employed or unemployed.
B. Economically inactive (outside the labor force): Economically inactive is defined as respondents aged 15 and older who were not employed and not unemployed.
C. Employment: Employment is defined as respondents aged 15 and older who: (i) worked for a company, the government or someone outside of the household during the last seven days; or (ii) worked for their own business or for a business belonging to their household in the last seven days; or (iii) did not work in the last seven days, but who were absent from their usual work.
D. Unemployment: Unemployment is defined as respondents aged 15 and older who: (i) did not work for a company, the government or someone outside of the household during the last seven days; and (ii) did not work for their own business or to a business belonging to their household in the last seven days; and (iii) did not work in the last seven days, and were not absent from their usual work; and (iv) were looking for a job during the last four weeks; and (v) who were available to start work if a job offer was received within two weeks of the KLFS interview.
E. Private Households: Private households include both Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti households. These households generally include individuals who are related and who share meals together.
F. Collective Households: Collective households are defined as households with 6 or more individuals, who are not related, living in the same dwelling but don’t have financial arrangements of their expenses. All residents in collective households are non-Kuwaiti. In some cases, these households were groups of friends or coworkers who lived together for convenience. In other cases these households included hundreds of individuals who work for large oil companies.
Labor force participation rate Survey results showed that the labor force participation rate in Kuwait has reached 72 percent. The results showed that the percentage of male participation in the labor force to the total male within the working age has reached 85 percent, as the proportion of female participation in the labor force stood at 54 percent. (See Figure 1). On the other hand, the results indicated that the highest participation rate of the labor force in 2014 recorded for the age group 25-34, reaching 86.7 percent with 97.9 percent for males and 71.8 percent for females, followed by the age group 35-44, which amounted to 84.8 percent with 98.4 percent for males and 65 percent for females. On the other hand, the percentage of the labor force participation for the age group 15-24 years is found to be 35 percent with 41.4 percent for males and 28.5 percent for females. As for the labor force participation rate according to nationality in 2014, the results show that the labor force participation of Kuwaiti ratio stood at 45.7 percent of all individuals 15 years and over with 54.2 percent for males compared with 37.6 percent for females, while the labor force participation rate of non-Kuwaitis reached 81.1 percent with 94.2 percent for males compared with 61.3 percent for females.
While the participation rate among male Kuwaitis were almost constant during the time period 2003 to 2014, that the participation rate among female Kuwaiti women have risen relatively large during this period .
The unemployment rate in Kuwait reached 2.9 percent in 2014, compared with 2.5 percent in 2008 and with 1.8 percent in 2003, where the unemployment rate among males reached 1.9 percent in 2014, compared with 2.8 percent in 2008, while for females stood at 4.9 percent in 2014, compared with 2.0 percent in 2008. On the other hand, the unemployment rate among Kuwaitis reached 5.0 percent in 2014 with 4.0 percent among males and 6.4 percent among females, in contrast, the unemployment rate among non-Kuwaitis reached 2.4 percent in 2014 with 1.5 percent among males and 4.5 percent among females. It is noticed that while the unemployment rate among male Kuwaitis were almost constant during the time period 2003 to 2014, the unemployment rate among Kuwaiti women have increased significantly during this period (see Figure 5). With regard to career orientation of the unemployed Kuwaitis, the results indicated that about 44 percent of the unemployed Kuwaitis do not accept jobs in the private sector if offered for them and that 50 percent of them accept the opportunity to work regardless of whether they are in the private sector or the government sector.
The survey results showed that in 2014, 20.1 percent of the workers in Kuwait are working in the government sector and 4.4 percent of them work in state-owned enterprises in exchange for 59.6 percent work in the private sector and 15.7 percent work in the household sector. (See Figure 7). Kuwaitis orientation differs from the non-Kuwaiti one in the choice of sector to work in it, while the majority of Kuwaitis (84.1 percent) are working in the government sector and that a small percentage of them (9.8 percent) work in the private sector, we find that the majority of non-Kuwaitis (69.4 percent) working in the private sector followed by 18.7 percent work in the household sector and the a small percentage of them (7.5 percent) are working in the government sector. (See Figure 8). The results also indicate that there is a significant difference between the employed Kuwaitis and employed non-Kuwaitis in terms of educational level, while we find that the majority of employed Kuwaitis are of degree and above (43.3 percent), the educational level of the majority of the employed non-Kuwaitis is low, 35.6 percent of them the level of “primary and below “, and 32.3 percent of them are middle school graduates.
Individuals outside the labor force
The results indicated that the percentage of persons 15 years and over outside the labor force of the total number of persons 15 years and over in 2014 in Kuwait amounted to 28.3 percent, with 14.8 percent for males and 46.2 percent among females. The percentage for the Kuwaiti population is found to be 54.3 percent, with 45.8 percent for males and 62.4 percent among females. In contrast, and for non- Kuwaiti population, the percentage is found to be 18.9 percent, with 5.8 percent for males and 38.7 percent among females. On the other hand, results showed that 65.0 percent of individuals within the 15-24 age group are found outside the labor force compared to 13.3 percent for individuals 25-34 years old and 15.2 percent of individuals 35-44 years old and 26.1 percent of individuals in the age group 45-54 years and 57 0.1 percent for individuals aged 55 years and over. On the other hand, the survey results reported that individuals outside the labor force are distributed according to the reason for staying out of the labor force as follows: 14.5 percent due to old age or retirement, 40.2 percent are house wives, 39.9 percent because of the study, and about 5.4 percent for other reasons. Finally, we note that, for the Kuwaiti population, the proportion of people 15 years and over outside the labor force of the total number of persons 15 years and over decreases with increasing level of education.
To be continued
(Read Part II in tomorrow’s issue)