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Workforce figures indicate progress in the UAE
Workforce figures indicate progress in the UAE

As The National reported yesterday, Ministry of Labour figures reveal that the number of people working here reached a record number in 2014, with a 10 per cent year-on-year increase to more than 4.4 million. And, according to the International Labour Organisation, the unemployment rate decreased from 3.79 per cent to 3.67 per cent between 2013 and 2014.

The ministry’s figures – showing that 1.212 million workers came to the UAE from the region and beyond last year – confirm the country has managed to continue to grow its economy despite the generally difficult political climate in the Middle East. The fact that 34 per cent of the UAE workforce is employed in the construction industry highlights a continuous focus on developing the country’s infrastructure. Last year, 1.5 million people joined the construction sector, helping to meet the demand for housing, schools, hospitals and other projects.

The success of Emirates and Etihad Airways has contributed to a 12.3 per cent growth in the hotels, restaurants, transport and storage sectors. The recent fall in global oil prices was not fully felt in 2014, and while it may have some negative effects on employment and the overall economy this year, the World Bank says it has not affected the value of remittances by expatriates in GCC countries.

The oil price drop is also starting to bring the expected dividend of lower airfares, which should help grow the tourism industry. Meanwhile, the national focus on medical tourism helped to boost the health sector, which saw the highest rate of growth last year – 25.4 per cent.

The statistics also highlight a boom in the business sector – the second biggest employer, with 1 million employees or 24 per cent of the workforce. This indicates that the country is making steady progress in economic diversification and creating jobs for Emiratis in the private sector. Less reliance on the government sector to provide employment can only benefit overall economic sustainability.

While the International Monetary Fund has reduced its growth prediction for this year from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, the UAE is more than holding its own in the region.



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