Wed, 23 12 1441 | 12 Aug 2020

Business Continuity in Statistics during COVID-19


Business Continuity in Statistics during COVID-19

GASTAT would like to ensure its customers that it is committed to provide statistics during the Covid-19 crisis in order to provide the statistic information needed for decision making.

Curfews and restrictions to attend working places also impacts the operations of a Statistical Institute like GASTAT, including data collection and statistics production. Trying to adapt to the new situation, we are doing some things differently: Introducing new surveys, adjusting existing questionnaires, using new data sources, and testing new modes of data collection. In particular, all field surveys and face-to-face interviewing in our social surveys were suspended and - where possible – data is collected by telephone interviewing (CATI - Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) or using online surveys (CAWI - Computer Assisted Web Interviewing).

From mid-March 2020 GASTAT staff has largely been working from home, according to the directives set by the government. For a reduced number of staff who need to come to the office, precautionary health measures were established.

The following statistical products are affected by the changes:

Price Statistics

GASTAT is currently collecting prices through a number of mechanisms, including using prices published on the internet as recommended by the IMF­1. Price collection in shops and businesses is continued, but restricted to times outside curfew hours.

Labor Force Survey

GASTAT has moved all Labor Force Survey (LFS) interviewing from field work (CAPI – Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) to telephone interviewing (CATI). While there might be some mode effects resulting from this change, business continuity and producing labor market statistics on the basis of the LFS was considered essential. In order to better understand labor market effects resulting from Covid-19 circumstances, some additional questions were added while attempting to keep the length of the questionnaire contained.

2020 Census

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, GASTAT suspended the Census operations (Saudi Census 2020) in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of the public and Census employees and collaborators.
  • Implement guidance from authorities regarding COVID-19.
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.


GASTAT will do its best to keep producing data. It is not business as usual for anyone, and GASTAT staff are working very hard to adhere to the release days and time without a delay.

Please regularly check our website, where we will highlight changes to our release calendar once we have worked through our priorities. Our release calendar lists upcoming releases of official statistics.