ABOUT half of Zimbabwean youths are loafing, the latest Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) 2022 second quarter labour force survey has revealed, laying bare the job crisis facing the country.
Results of the ZimStat survey that was released yesterday show that the national proportion of youths aged between 15 and 34 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) was estimated at 50%, while the proportion of those aged between 15 and 24 in the same category stood at 49%.
The national unemployment rate for youth between 15 and 34 years was 29%, while the youth aged between 15 and 24 had a national unemployment rate of 37%, according to the survey.
Presenting the results, ZimStat acting manager (labour, market, and statistics department) Tidings Matangira said most of the youth who were in NEET were doing nothing.
The ZimStat report shows that an estimated 3,25 million people are employed compared to 3,27 million in the first quarter.
“Around 3,3 million of the working age population was currently employed. The national employment to population ratio stood at 35%,” the ZimStat report partly read.
“Harare had the highest proportion of the employed population at around 26% followed by Mashonaland West at 13%. Matabeleland North with 2% had the least proportion. 29% of the employed population was in the formal sector while 45% was in the informal sector. Of those in employment 21% and 5% were in the agricultural and household sectors, respectively. Eighty-eight percent of the employed population was informally employed. Among those employed in the non-agricultural sectors, 85% were informally employed.”
The ZimStat report comes as the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) says the southern African country has a mere 180 000 formal jobs, yet its population has doubled since independence in 1980.
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“One in 15 people has a formal job compared to one in six in 1980,” ZNCC chief executive officer Christopher Mugaga said recently.
According the latest ZimStat report, the majority of the workers (26%) are employed under the wholesale trade, retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles industry followed by the agricultural, forestry and fishing sectors with 21%.
ZimStat also says 29% of persons in the potential labour force category stopped looking for jobs because they have been looking for employment for a very long time without success.
ZimStat director-general Taguma Mahonde said the decline in the number of employed people in the second quarter was a result of the changes in the farming season which resulted in the economy shifting from the agricultural sector.
“Unemployment rate using the strict definition was estimated at 20% compared to 19,3% in quarter one,” Mahonde said. “Expanded unemployment rate was estimated at 48% compared to 47,2% in quarter one. Share of formal (non-agriculture) sector employment was estimated at 29% compared to 28% in quarter one. Share of employment in the informal (non-agriculture) sector was estimated at 45% for both second and first quarters. Share of employment in the household sector was estimated at 6% compared to 4% in quarter one. Share of employment in the agricultural sector was estimated at 21% compared to 24% in the first quarter.”
International Labour Organisation (ILO) specialist on informal sector Annamarie Kiaga bemoaned the low number of women employed in the formal sector.
“It is worrisome that fewer women of the working age are actually employed or participating in the labour markets,” Kiaga said.
“The gender gap matters because ILO believes that freedom of work by choice and condition of dignity, safety and fairness is integral to human welfare. Guaranteeing women the right to have access to work is important.
“The gender gap in Zimbabwe is of concern because in 2016, the ILO conducted a study worldwide on the attitude or perception of both women and men, 81% of women indicated preference to access to paid work. So if that was in 2016 and six years on, still the employment ratio of women against men is still this low it becomes worrisome.”