UBS says workers will flee the emirate as construction jobs fall 20% this year and 10% the next

A stalling economy is expected to see the number of people living in Dubai drop by 10% over the next two years.

Swiss bank UBS said that declining construction activity as a result of falling property demand and problems with financing major new commercial schemes could cause the number of residents in the emirate to drop by 8% this year and a further 2% next year.

Dubai Construction workers
Credit: Paul Keller
Construction workers in Dubai in happier times

Around half of Dubai's 1.5 million residents are estimated to be employed in construction and property. Expats account for up to 90% of the Gulf state's population.

UBS also said that the number of construction jobs in Dubai will fall 20% this year and 10% next year.

It added: “Anecdotal evidence suggest 30-40% of new infrastructure launches in UAE have either been delayed or cancelled, with strict project and resource rationalisation under way.”