Second quarter unemployment rate up
– but is this not time for us to talk about what defines employment?
Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
Second quarter for the year 2022 employment statistics are out and they show that total number of employed persons estimated at 3.25 million was 0.02milion lower compared to 3.27 million in quarter one.
The figures by Zimbabwe Statistical Agency are expected as the economy moves from the agriculture season, as evidenced by a decline of 2.1% employment for the agriculture sector.
The unemployment rate, calculated using the strict definition of unemployment was estimated at 20% compared to 19.3% in quarter one, a 0.7% increase.
The official unemployment definition comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which states that “people are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work.”
Decision makers prefer the strict definition of unemployment as it provides more information for planning purposes.
The traditional unemployment includes which we have generally used includes anyone 15 years and above.
This gives a false figure considering that the Zimbabwean population increases by on average 200 000 persons, it means that on average, there are around 1 million persons in schools not seeking employment but being counted as unemployed. Furthermore, 65% of Zimbabwean population is rural and most of those people are not seeking employment as they are self-employed.
The expanded unemployment rate was estimated at 48 percent compared to 47.2 percent in quarter one. The expanded unemployment rate includes those that have stopped looking for em0loyment but are within the range that should be employed or seeking employment.
From the total 3.25 employed persons, the share of formal (non-agriculture) sector employment was estimated at 29 percent compared to 28 percent in quarter one showing a one percentage point increase in people formally employed.
The share of employment in the informal (non-agriculture) sector was estimated at 45 percent for both second and first quarters while the share of employment in the household sector was estimated at 6 percent compared to 4 percent in quarter one.
In Agriculture, the share of employment was estimated at 21 percent compared to 24 percent in 1st quarter