Dubai: Dubai's unemployment rate was 0.8 per cent in 2009, according to labour data released for the first time by the Dubai Statistics Centre. This represents a decline of 19 per cent compared to 2008.
A total of 11,152 were unemployed last year among an economically active population of 1.36 million, the report said. The economically active population formed 86.6 per cent of the emirate's population of 1.57 million.
Comparatively, the OECD's latest Economic Outlook says the unemployment rate may now be peaking at an average 8.5 per cent across OECD economies and is likely to fall only slowly in the near term.
Among the unemployed, 7,179 were expatriates and 3,973 were Emiratis.
The biggest reason for unemployment in 2009 was the termination of services by employers, the report said.
There were more unemployed women than men in the emirate, it indicated. Among Emiratis there are more unemployed men than women but in expatriate communities there were more women without jobs than men.
The majority of those hunting for jobs last year preferred applying to an employer over self-employment, according to the report.
University graduates had the highest unemployment rates compared with other persons who had primary to secondary education, could read or write, or were illiterate.
The greatest number of people spent two to three months looking for a job, the report said.
The most preferred occupation among unemployed people who have never worked before is clerical work and the least popular was low-skilled jobs, it said.
The majority of the unemployed were single compared to those who were married or divorced.
Despite the decrease in unemployment rates the figures do not provide meaningful insight into Dubai's economy, according to Simon Williams, HSBC Middle East Chief Economist. "The unemployment number isn't a very important variable in the UAE as a whole because of Dubai's unique labour structure," he said.
As expatriates in the Gulf have to be employed or studying in order to have a valid residency visa and since the workforce is heavily expatriate-dominated, the unemployment rates are not a significant economic indicator, he added.
Comparing Dubai to other emerging markets, Williams said that it was "hit harder" by the global recession than other regional economies.
Though 2011 will be a better year for Dubai, economic growth is unlikely to reach pre-crisis levels as soon as 2010-2011, he added.