ZIMBABWE’S unemployment rate increased from 19.7% in the second quarter (Q2) of 2023 to 21% in Q3 2023 as the economy faces an exodus of people leaving the country while an increasing number is now turning to the informal sector for livelihoods, a study by the country’s statistical agency has shown.
Experts say a wobbling economy and the country’s volatile socio-political situation have forced millions to migrate to neighbouring countries such as South Africa while thousands have also left for Western nations in search of better prospects.
Independent statistics however show that the country’s unemployment rate is hovering around 75%.
According to a third-quarter labour force survey by the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZimStat), the levels of unemployment in the country have been going upwards despite pronouncements by the authorities that the economy is ticking mainly driven by agriculture and mining output.
“The 2023 3rd quarter unemployment rate increased by 1.3 percentage points compared to the 2nd quarter of 2023,” the report says.
“Year-on-year comparison reviewed that 2023 3rd quarter unemployment rate increased by 0.9 percentage points compared to the 3rd quarter of 2022.”
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) is a household-based survey conducted in both rural and urban areas across all provinces in Zimbabwe. Working Age Population refers to persons aged 15 and above.
The report also shows that the labour force participation rate for Bulawayo province was 61.3% followed by Harare province at 60.2%. Labour force participation rate refers to the proportion of the working age population that is in the labour force.
Labour force participation rate for persons in urban areas was 60.6% while for persons in rural areas it was 34.2%.
“In urban areas, male labour force participation rate was 71.7 percent while for females the rate was 51.3 percent. Harare province had an employment to population ratio of 47.9 percent and Bulawayo province was at 47.1 percent,” the report says.
The employment-to-population ratio is the proportion of working age population that is in employment. Employed population in informal sector (non-agriculture) increased by 4.1 percentage points in the 3rd quarter of 2023 compared to 2nd quarter 2023.
Informal sector (non-agriculture) constituted 46.6% and the agricultural sector constituted 18% of all employed persons.
In the agricultural sector, females constituted 16.3% of all employed females while males constituted 19.2% of all employed people, ZimStat says. — STAFF WRITER.