Job growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MEA) has slowed in the last few years, and analysts say the region’s job market has been damaged by the conflict in neighboring Syria.
While jobs in the MEA grew by 2.2 percent last year, analysts at Nomura said the job market in that region was still suffering from a shortage of skilled workers.
“While growth in some areas may have accelerated, it is likely that the pace of job creation will not increase in the coming years, especially if there are no further developments in the Syrian civil war,” Nomura senior research analyst Matthew Rippen said.
“The MEA will likely face a slower pace of growth in 2017, if the economic climate remains relatively weak.”
In the past three years, the MEAs employment rate has grown at a rate of about 1 percent per year.
But it is not clear whether that is sustainable.
According to Nomura, the employment rate in the Arab world’s third-largest economy has dropped to a record low of about 25 percent, a year after it surpassed the 40 percent threshold set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In 2018, unemployment in the region is expected to reach around 25 percent.
“While this may not be a permanent trend, it certainly indicates a slowdown in economic activity in the Gulf region,” Nomua senior analyst Michael Haffner said.