After hitting a record high in February, Qatar’s population dipped slightly in March, according to new government figures.
There were 2,659,261 people in Qatar at the end of last month, the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics (MDPS) said this week.
That’s 13,761 less than in February, a small drop.
But the numbers still reflect an increase of 132,267 people over the last 12 months, or about a 5 percent jump.
That said, the figures show that population growth in Qatar is definitely slowing down.
On the plus side, this translates into less traffic on the roads, and a lighter load for the healthcare and education sectors.
But it also means Qatar will need to step up its tourism game to ensure the success of its booming retail market.
Demand tapering off
Last year saw the population grow by 9 to 10 percent almost each month.
But that growth has slowed to an average of 5.3 percent in 2017 so far.
The MDPS had forecast this shift previously, saying it expected growth to taper off by the middle of this year.
It also said its five-year plan will focus on increasing the number of nationals in Qatar while controlling the recruitment of expat workers.
In some sectors, this is being done through layoffs due to consolidation and belt-tightening.
For example, hundreds of people were laid off from Qatar Foundation last week.
Additionally, some major construction projects are expected to wind down this year, decreasing the need to import more workers into the country.