Bahrain’s jobs market recovering

BAHRAIN’s jobs market is showing signs of recovery with employment among Bahrainis rising for the first time in months. Latest government figures show a one per cent growth in employed Bahrainis at the end of the second quarter, taking the total number to 139,347.

It was the first time since the end of last September that Bahraini employment actually increased.

Jobs growth among Bahrainis peaked at 10pc at the end of March last year before plummeting to 4pc by the end of June and 2pc by the end of September.

Since then the number of Bahrainis in work actually shrank by 3pc, but figures released by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) indicate improvement.

“The number of employed Bahrainis increased to 139,347, showing a positive annual growth rate of 0.5pc,” it said.

However, the expat workforce continued to shrink by 2pc – bringing their numbers to 457,694.

That compares to expat employment growth of 17pc at the end of March last year and 15pc at the end of June.

“The total number of employed persons in Bahrain decreased from 607,570 in quarter two, 2009 to 597,040 at the end of quarter two 2010 – representing a negative annual growth rate of -1.7pc,” said the LMRA.

“For non-Bahraini workers, the annual decrease was -2.4pc.”

Meanwhile, average monthly wages across all sectors rose 5pc to BD318 compared to the same time last year.

Median monthly wages of Bahrainis rose 2.1pc to BD438, with public sector salaries rising 1.6pc to BD579 and private sector salaries increasing by 4.9pc to BD320.

This saw the labour cost gap between Bahrainis and expats in the target sectors of construction, trade, hotels, restaurants and small scale manufacturing rose by BD16 to BD235.

According to the figures, the total number of irregular workers as of end of June reached 41,168 – including 16,181 absent; 18,464 whose services had been terminated and 6,523 whose visas had expired.

This did not include foreigners working illegally with another employer, illegal domestic workers, workers with dependant visas and persons who entered the country on visit visas, but were now in jobs.

Meanwhile, the number of new work visas decreased in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year.

“The total number of work visas issued was 30,960 in quarter two this year against 36,362 in 2009,” said the LMRA.

They included 24,299 for regular workers, 186 for investors, 524 for temporary workers and 6,021 for dependents – with construction accounting for 34pc of all new regular workers.

Meanwhile, 36,140 visas were renewed, 18,660 were terminated and 2,819 expats moved between jobs.

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