By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE’s unemployment rate now stands at 19% basing on the strictest definition of employment, Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) has reported.
The details, contained in the agency’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first three months, showed the country’s unemployment rate is relatively lower.
ZIMSTAT’s definition of employed people includes subsistence farmers and those in the informal sector, such as vendors.
“Total number of employed persons was estimated at 3,3 million. Unemployment rate using the strict definition was estimated at 19%,” the survey said.
The established unemployment figure flies in the face of several stakeholders who have positioned the country’s unemployment rate at over 80%.
The working age population was estimated at 9 million, constituting 59 percent of the total population. The total labour force obtained from the survey was 3,8 million giving a total Labour Force Participation which represents the number of persons in the labour force as a percentage of the working-age population stood at a rate of 44%.
Around 3,2 million people of the working age population were currently employed, with the national Employment to Population Ratio (EPR) standing at 35%.
Harare had the highest proportion of the employed population at around 25% followed by Mashonaland West at 14%, Matabeleland North with 3% had the least proportion.
The survey states that 28% of the employed population was in the formal sector while 45% were in the informal sector, with those in employment at 24% and 4% being in the agriculture and household sectors, respectively.
Around 85% of the employed population were informally employed.
“The wholesale trade; retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry had the largest proportion of the employed population at 26% followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing with 24%,” the survey said.
It was established that 19% of persons 15 years and above were unemployed, among males, the rate was 18% while for females it was 21%.
Matabeleland North province had the highest unemployment rate of 37%, with the age groups (15-19) years having the highest unemployment rate of 39 percent followed by those aged (20-24) years at 34%.
Youth (15-24) years had a national unemployment rate of 35 percent.
The national unemployment rate for youth (15-34) years was 27%. Unemployment rate was highest among those who had completed upper secondary at 28% followed by those with lower secondary at 22%.