Unions dispute Zimstat unemployment report

LABOUR unions and a prominent Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch have rubbished recent reports by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) that the country’s unemployment rate stood at 10,7% instead of 80% as claimed by independent analysts.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga Own correspondent

Addressing participants at a 2011 Labour Force and Child Labour Survey dissemination workshop in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Zimstat director-general Mutasa Dzinotizei described as misleading reports that Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate stood at more than 70%.

“Unemployment is defined as all persons above a specified age, who during a reference period were without work or were not in paid employment or were self-employed,” Dzinotizei said.

“It refers to people who are available for work, people who are seeking work and have taken specific steps to seek for work or self-employment. On the basis of the 2011 Labour Force Survey, unemployment rates in Zimbabwe, using broad and strict definitions were 10,7% and 5,4% respectively. These compare with the 9% and 4,4% rates in 2004.”

At 10,7%, Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate would be far lower than that of South Africa, estimated at 25,5%, which is sub-Sahara’s biggest economy employing hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans regarded as economic refugees.

However, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union secretary-general Japhet Moyo yesterday told NewsDay that Zimstat had made up its own definition of the unemployed which was different from the one used by the United Nations.

“We have a challenge in that Zimstat has changed the definition of the unemployed,” he said. “Our finding is that we also consider those that are not employed in the formal sector as the unemployed and the figures show that it is between 80 and 90% as indicated by the UN report that Zimstat has apparently ignored.

“People in the informal sector, who are making their own income, are not recognised by the State when it comes to taxes by National Social Security Authority. They cannot be counted as employed, which is why the rate of unemployment in Zimbabwe is actually higher than the 10,7% they are giving us.”

Economist Eric Bloch said the unemployment rate stands at “approximately 87%” and Zimstat could have excluded the aged and those in informal sectors in the unemployment category.

“The unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is the biggest tragedy at the moment and that position is not going to change or improve unless something urgent is done about the situation,” he said. “Poverty is still going to thrive until there is revival of industries in the country and there is an environment where there is creation of opportunities for investment.”


  1. ZIMSTATS employs madofo only, they should be retired kuuye vanhu vane open and sharp minds not those dunderheads coz they will continue misleading us.

    1. iwe ndiwe dofo.Kana usina basa wakapusa.

      1. No wonder why you call urself “bigzebra” the figures given by ur friends are nonsensical. I honestly think he wanted to say the opposite. How dare one says informal or self employment reduces unemployment rate. How much is contributed to the fiscus for Dzinoitei to claim tht unemplyment rate is 11% { whatever his name is} He is insane

        1. The idea is not to give money to the government.How much is big business paying in taxes.They will get my money when i pay “VAT” and when i pay import taxes on my goods that i sell to you.I guess you would consider me unemployed.What a laugh.kikikikikiki.

    2. Unoziva iwe matofo avanhu basa rekudya mari vakagara basa havaiti vanongoita mafigure ekunyorera vari pasi pemuti.enumerrator

  2. zimastat is misleading the nation like ZEC, it is another compromised org. Even the population results are going to be false no doubt about that! Unemploymwnt rate in Zim is about 85%, Zimstat cannot fool anyone anymore.

  3. I don’t find the logic in saying air-card vendors who makes more than civil servants are unemployed simply because they are not in the formal sector or those who have small businesses at Mbare Musika or mahwindi.Eric Bloch is the one who is crazy because he still expects Zimbabweans to line for work at factories.They don’t. They find other ways to make a living inside Zimbabwe or simply emigrate to other countries.No Zimbabwean is going to line up for work that pays less that what they can make on their own.Its funny,Erich Bloch considered the farm workers who worked for whites for a pittance and lived like slaves to be employed.

  4. The United Nations doesnt know anything about anything.Only top of the class morons would believe the UN Rreport.Perenial pessimist who stay at home while others are being innnovate in ways they bring food to the table.Stuck ups waiting for the white man to come back and give them a job.Get a drivers licence and see if you wont get a job in Zimbabwe.Make your own money people and try by all means that not a cent falls in the greedy gvt’s hands.

  5. The ZCTU’s view that those employed in the informal sector should considered as unemployed is the most confused view ever. Just because they do not pay tax does not mean they are unemployed and do not contribute to the economy because they do in more ways than one. We must be proud of our enterprising nature than be preoccupied with archaic and narrow definitions of employment.

  6. Zimbabwe is a unique case. some of your learned definitions may not be so true. Our economy is not that formal so if anybody thinks vendors and Kiya KIYAs ARE NOT EMPLOYED they are misled to think we have 80% unemployment. If self-mployment is not employment then its true we have 80% unemployment

  7. This is a critical area for our planners and coming up with figures of 10% employment is not funny at all. We are reading presently that unemployment in EU countries who feed us and have on their budget an excess of Euro 50 billion for aid to developed countries is hovering around 25% then why should these people that we call ugly names everyday be doing this for a country which is one of the largest beneficiary of this aid with 10% unemployment. Like somebody stated South Africa has 25.5% unemployment, then why are our people rushing down there in droves? Some are even rushing to Mozambique. If Zimstat wants to be taken seriously it should start taking itself seriously first..Making glib statements like these only makes charlies out of them.

    Every country has an informal sector but if you have a situation where you have more informal than formal employment then something must be critically amiss.

    1. EU countries feeding us? Which EU country is feeding us, and how. Maybe u meant EU countries feeding u. And people flocking to SA or Mozambique go there to look for high paying jobs. Some even quit their formal jobs here and go to SA coz they get more money there. People in Zim are after money. If “chihwindi” pays more than being a till operator, why not go for chihwindi?

  8. i agree with the finding that unemployment is over 70%. you do not manipulate standard definitions to suit yo scenario, otherwise the information becomes irrelevant. just because you feel yo case is “unique”, the definition of unemployment does not change. if u are looking for a job and you cannot find one, then you are unemployed; if u graduated with a diploma in teaching but failed to find a job in teaching and resorted to selling vegetables for a living then u are unemployed, if u are a qualified technician who has failed to secure a job and opted to buy and sell cellphones then,my brother, you are unemployed. simply put, as long as you are looking for a job and cant find one then u are unemployed, wat u opt to do as an alternative is irrelevant. we have skilled people who cannot put their skills to use because our economy is failing to accommodate them. if u incorporated an entity, be it a company o partnership recognised under the law of the land and thus liable to pay tax, you fall in a different bracket and can reasonably be expected to offer employment.

    A simple analytical review of our economy will show u that an unemployment “rate” of just over 10% is a lie. our GDP has fallen to an extreme low, major industries and corporates have shut down and our economy shrunk. the market capitalization of the whole ZSE is horribly low compared to similar countries and our economy has certainly not been big enough to absorb almost 90% of job seekers in any given year for the past 6 to 10 years. To say 89.3% (100% less the asserted 10.7%) of people seeking work will get employed is just a poorly constructed lie.

  9. Dude this racism card is old okay. Bloch is right unoti kutengesa airtime is good if you have a degree, that’s the problem with Africans we have short minded ideas, people who have skills to build Zimbabwe r self employed doing informal business that will nt help zimbabwe, do u think gvt gets tax from them vanotengesa madomasi. Have you seen harare CBD of late how many pple r selling things on the streets like its mbare musika.

    Don’t be ignorant and blinded by your racist rhetoric, you belong in the 1940s, izvi zvinorwadza the youth (like us) who have degrees upon degree but can only find a job at steers or something when I’m supposed to build zim coz I’m the future. That’s why I like Biti, he tells the truth that this is the real situation not lying to push stupid propaganda.

    Zimbabwe does not need empowerment coz its creating an informal economy and now we r stuck on a 3.4 billion budget, you have companies like Apple almost worth 1trillion dollars and I ask myself if we will ever reach a point like that with backward minded africans like ur kind ruling Africa nt Zimbabwe alone.

    You and your Zimstat like comparing Zim to SA first it was GDP growth rate (zim growing faster than SA) now we have a better society coz most r employed, yu are foolish and did not go to school, Zim is a 10bill economy not even close to Africaz richest man and SA is 500billion so u can’t tell me that our economy is growing more than SA in real terms not stupid percentages, we r nt in the same league, even employement u have mine workers in marikana getting 9000 rands and miners in Zim get 150dollars, do the math if u can!!!

    Do not just go off based on your racial feelings, use abit of education coz that’s how the world works.

    1. So who do you blame for paying the formally employed miners in Zim $150? I am a small scale farmer and making good money but I dont pay taxes to gvt, so am I unemployed?

  10. @KUDA; No, u are not unemployed, you are however evading tax. register as a taxpayer, u may find that u are even exempt from paying tax or u qualify to claim from ZIMRA. if u were practising small scale farming because you have failed to get a job were u can put yo skills to use then of course ul be unemployed. if we hev a situation were people are largely self-employed in the informal sector o not paying tax, we’ll hev a poorly funded government that is over-dependant on borrowing, the annual budget will be tight, government spending will consequently be low and the economy will shrink, companies close or downsize and unemployment will go up. Tendai Biti will look bad and there will be general political unrest. Zvema projects, community programs and empowerment will not drive the economy, large-scale investment, foreign trade and transparent governance and corporate social responsibilty is wat we need.

  11. ZimStats has finally woken up here. I believe their definition of unemployment is the one to use. Unemployment refers only to people actively looking for employment and not those that are self employed. This topic is a contentious one especially in countries who give regular payments to the unemployed as unemployment benefit like the UK. Here in the UK to qualify as unemployed one is not supposed to be doing anything or even washing cars for some few pennies. You do something like crossing into France to buy wares for resell back in the UK you have to notify authorities as you are regarded as employed. The problem in Zimbabwe is that the state is not efficient in collecting taxes to people in informal employment hence they remain counted as unemployed. But it is not right that someone earning almost $600 a week as an informal trader is counted as unemployed when a teacher earning %200 a month is counted as employed. I have argued unemployment rate given for Zimbabwe and other African countries. Entrepreneurship is looked down upon in Africa. Until one is formally employed one is referred to as unemployed. I joked with my sister recently who is a cross-boarder trader and have just finished paying off her mortgage – an unemployed person paying off her employed husband’s mortgage! It is only in Zimbabwe where we have unemployed people who are not on state benefits (Zim does not have unemployment benefit) who live luxurious lives compared to their employed counterparts. Have you ever reasoned why most Zim people shun looking for work and prefer cross-boarder trading? It is because there is no burden of paying income tax and they get loads of money while at the same time drawing public sympathy that they are unemployed. So I believe that what ZimStats is saying should not be brushed under the carpet, but that a proper body should be set up to research this contentious area and come up with a scientifically backed position.

    1. You are more than right.

  12. Stop the shouting at each other and get down to the buisness on how to grow your economy to provide jobs and a better standard of living for your people.One thing I am certain about,white capital is not going to be your saviour not now and not ever.Who ever believes that FDI will flow into Zimbabwe uninterrupted for the next ten years bringing full employment and prosperity for the people of Zimbabwe are living a lie.That is not going to happen without indigenization.Black american unemployment in the US are way above the national average.In some cities you

  13. Youth unemployment are over 40% and in other cities,black female unemployment are over 60%.Even the US, the richest country on earth and a major source of FDI has never fully employed black people.So why are you so convinced that unregulated FDI can solve your econimic problems. In the US,they have not solved or want to solve the unemployment problem for black americans who live in the land where most of your FDI will come from.Do you believe that FDI prefer black Zimbabweans over black americans.Zimbabweans must decide to stair their own ship.They now have there land and resources.For Christ’s sakes start the hard difficult work of leveraging your resourses,build down stream industries to stimulate employment,develop the most productive agrultural sector in soutn Africa and build a better life for your people.This is your responsibility and no one else.No one can do it for you except you. .

  14. They shall come back as per your dream and build factories for you to be employed. Zim is unique wait and see you will soon be employed by your son/daughter.

  15. Zimstat you r reminded to pay the enummerators

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