Government Agency says unemployment now just 13%
THE Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) said Tuesday that the country’s’ unemployment rate was now 11.3%, far below the 85-90% range widely used commentators and the opposition.
“The explanation for the substantial gap between the two estimates of unemployment is the size of the informal sector,” Zimstat said in its 2016 survey report.
The report says the country has a total population of 13.4 million with those aged 15 and above estimated at about eight million.
“Of this potential workforce, some 750,000 people – most of them students – are defined as economically inactive, while 800,000 are officially defined as unemployed.
“This gives an overall unemployment rate of 11.3%, far below the 85-90% figures widely used in the media,” reads the report.
Critics and the opposition have been demanding the resignation of President Robert Mugabe, accusing him of presiding over the collapse of the country’s economy, leaving millions unable out of work and struggling to look after their families.
However, according to the Zimstat report, 94.5% of the 6.3 million Zimbabweans defined as employed are working in the informal economy.
“The largest number (4.16m) is made up of smallholder farmers in communal agriculture, followed by 615,000 in trade and commerce.
“Some 210,000 are said to have informal jobs in manufacturing 70,000 in mining, 118,000 in education and 92,000 in transport.”
The report went on to say that, as formal-sector employment has fallen, wages have increased.
“The average wage has increased by almost one‑third but the vast majority of workers are still earning less than the officially estimated total consumption poverty line for a family.”