Unemployment 11 percent: ZimStat

informal tradersHerald Reporters
Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of 11 percent, contrary to claims by some economists that the country has a joblessness rate of more than 70 percent, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency director-general Mr Dzinotizei Mutasa said yesterday.Mr Mutasa told participants at a one-day ZimStat dissemination workshop that most people in the country were economically active and only 11 percent were unemployed according to the 2012 agency’s findings.

“Persons who stated paid employee, employer, own account worker and unpaid family worker as their main activity were regarded as employed or economically active persons,” he said.

“One is either a farmer, selling juice cards, driving an emergency taxi or you are working as a hair dresser, all these people are economically active.

“We have always had this argument about what is the percentage of people that are employed or unemployed in Zimbabwe. Textbook economists will say 85 percent but that is not true. If we had a population like that most people in Zimbabwe would have died, it is not possible,” he said.

Mr Mutasa said out of the country’s total population of 13 061 239, the economically active group stood at 68,8percent while the economically inactive group was 32,5 percent.

Of the total number of economically active persons, the largest proportion was in Masvingo with an activity rate of 73 and Matabeleland North had the lowest activity rate of 59.

ZimStat director said 50 percent of the country’s population was employed in the agricultural sector.

Of the employed persons enumerated in Zimbabwe, 42 percent were communal farmers or communal farm workers while the other employed persons were 58 percent.

Data on activity for Zimbabwe from the 2012 population census show that about 59 percent of the total population was in the 15 and above age group.

The economically active population constituted 67 percent and 11 percent were unemployed and 89 percent employed.

The survey revealed that at least 3,7 million Zimbabweans are involved in informal sector activities and females, at 54,6 percent, made up the majority of the people employed in the informal sector.

Economist John Robertson argued that Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate remained very high at more than 70 percent with less than 900 000 people formally employed out of a population of 13 million people.

“An estimated 100 000 jobs have been lost from 2004 up to date as government fails to create new jobs,” John Robertson said.

“It can’t be 11 percent. Our unemployment rate is more than 70 percent due to the failure by the government to create jobs for its people.”

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  • succuba

    How can an “unpaid family worker” be classed as employed?

    • Drudge Report

      Hanzi they are called “economically active persons”. In other words munhu anoshandira mhuri yake even though he doesn’t get a paycheck.

      • rukudzo

        How does the family survive? If from that “unpaid family” work they are able to feed, then yes the guy is employed.

      • Mwana wevhu

        I think he’s just trying to be too technical or rather economical about this, but we all know the truth and l think it would be a waste of time trying to argue with him. We certainly have a high unemployment rate in Zim which is Y Zanu Pf is trying to create 2 000 000 jobs. 11% of 13 100 000 is 1 441 000. So how does it create 2 000 000 jobs for a 1 441 000 unemployed people? How does this work?/// Ri……..g…..g…!!!!!

        • Langton

          can i say to you what you have presented above mwana wevhu is ‘shallow’ for a lack of a better word,i think it was made clear that unemployment is not Joblessness, go revise your definations..and i urge you to use the international starndards not ako aunofunga…

          • jaj

            employment=paying tax, if you are not paying tax you are unemployed. There is a difference between employment and livelihoods. What people are doing is to sustain their lives and what they get is not taxable which means in the government eyes these people are not employed because they contribute nothing to the development of the nation, and is called self development which is capitalism. All dealers are not employed because they do not raise invoices which are auditable. Its kiya kiya, hand to mouth. Kusvishandira is wrong for the development of the nation, thats why the government has no money for infrastructure.

    • Ngwena Dziva

      Munhu akavhima nyama kumapurazi, akarima chibagwe chemhuri yake, akatsenga midzi kana agwara, akatema huni dzemoto, atofanana newe waenda kubasa

  • truth

    let us learn to accept reality for our country to move ahead. To say our unemployment rate is 11% is treson. When are we as a county going to self introspect and see who the real enemy is.

    • Maclause

      i agree with 11% because most people leave their jobs here in SA to join informal sector in Zimbabwe which is highly rewarding and most likely hold the highest percentage of currency in circulation compared to other countries where the formal sector is the nom of the day

      • Hacha Ndizvo

        You are drunk or go back to school

    • BMS

      reality is acknowledging that the informal sector is employing the majority of
      our workforce. This is not keysian economics and the text book economist cannot
      comprehend this. If we acknowledge the informal sector and appreciate its relevance
      to our society and look for ways of enhancing it and creating linkages with the
      formal sector, our economy will move forward and the cake will be distributed
      to all. If you are an economist and you don’t see how many people kombi’s,
      flemarkets, musikas etc employ people then you must pack your bags and go and practice
      in UK. I run three flemarket tables to supplement my income employed as an IT
      Administrator. I employ three ladies plus my wife the three ladies take home $140.00
      plus a dollar a day for transport and depending on sales $1 for lunch plus I
      know for a fact that when a say a shirt sales for $10.00 and they sale it for
      $8.00 then $2.00 goes to them let us call it commission for economist to
      understand, my wife does drawings and if I am to put a figure to it I would say
      $350.00 monthly the balance profit I bank hoping to accumulate enough to
      venture into another project. Now if you say my wife is not employed or the
      ladies are not employed because it’s not in Edgers you are crazy. The informal
      sector has the advantage of having low operational cost and low initial capital.
      Also the money it generates finds its way into the main stream through demand
      for goods and services and in my case through banking. That means the informal
      sector also sustains the formal sector. I could go on but I rest my case.

      • Langton

        well said,BMS…..i think you really undestood the concept of Employment

        • Hacha Ndizvo

          Employment should be rewarding whether you own the company or you are an employee. The informal sector is full of people who are struggling and they barely make enough to sustain themselves. if we allow the mentality that these people love and want to remain in those jobs then we are terribly lost. Do you think those people who risk their lives daily selling juice cards and water at robots love that job – would you do it yourself – do you know how much they make? We are not talking of fat cats like BMS – we are talking about the majority who cannot afford $20 as capital.

      • Rtg

        Let us be holistic about it. You are one in a million who is managing. The facts of the matter however are that an alarming number of those in the informal sector are living in poverty. That is what we need to address as a country. The 11% figure doesn’t tell the entire story on how much work we need to engage in.

      • Shamu

        @BMS uchiri kurarama nguva dzana mbuya Nehanda iwe. The world dynamics are changing. Why should you bring pre-Cambrian era Ideologies. Just because great leap forward (building backyard blast furnaces) worked for Mao now you want to employ the same strategy. Its really sad and unfortunate to find people like you who seem to have studied economics but clueless when it comes to application always want to be heard and worse more masquerade as RBZ and Ministry of finance Advisers. Sometimes zvirinane kunyarara, munotisvodesereiko mazimbo.

      • Hacha Ndizvo

        Your comment clearly shows that your grasp of economics is limited. Let me lecture you.
        1. Every person has a right to earn (formally or self employed) a decent wage at par with the poverty datum line (PDL).
        2. An economy is only considered healthy if the majority of its people live on or above the PDL. However if the economy puts the majority below the PDL then its in trouble.
        3. In that regard if a single person starts a business – e.g. selling juice cards – he should get a profit that matches the PDL (all else being equal). If not the economy is failing to sustain/carry that person – he is living in poverty.

        Now BMS – coming to your employees and wife. Its clear that your employees earn below the PDL but they have just enough to keep body and soul together. With choice they would move to a better employer (it is obvious that you are a bad employer). The same applies to your wife because she is not receiving any pay for her labour. If it were not for your formal pay she would be living in poverty the same if you gave her that $350 you are squirreling away.

        To round up – a healthy economy allows people working in the formal and informal sectors to live above poverty. If not – like in our case – then that economy is very ill. What you see people doing in the streets selling this and that is not work – its called scrounging – a desperate melee to survive.

    • Hacha Ndizvo

      Let me illustrate why the line of thinking by this official is foolish.

      Zimstats officer get to house and asks Mai Chipo
      OFFICER: How many people stay here?
      MAI CHIPO: Four mukuwasha. Myself, my husband and our two kids.
      OFFICER: Does your husband work?
      MAI CHIPO: No mukuwasha. Work is difficult to find. He is now selling juice cards.
      OFFICER: What about you?
      MAI CHIPO: I sell tomatoes at the gate.

      Officer writes on his report “Two economically active adults and two minors”.

      Now what these misguided statisticians chose not to reveal is that this family lives on less than $1 per day, they are behind in the rent, they live in a house without electricity or water because they can not afford it, their children are sent home for non-payment of fees, they are perpetually hungry, they cannot afford decent clothing, they can’t buy furniture or look after their parents.

      In other words the majority of those who have been categorized as “economically active” are in fact living in abject poverty and have no means whatsoever to improve their lives from where they are. They are people who are waiting for something to happen – they want to get a rewarding job. Now someone wants us to believe that these people would forego a formal job in preference of their current activities

      The truth is that only 20 percent of Zimbabweans are in formal employment. 80% are in the informal sector and using the Pareto principle only 20% of informal traders are successful. Therefore the percentage of people leaving in poverty comprise nearly 70%.

      When all is said and done this Mutasa fellow wants to see 70% of Zimbabweans idle and loafing for him to believe there is unemployment in Zimbabwe. He expects them to do nothing at all so he could include them in the 11% group of old people, the disabled and infirm.

      That is very foolish to say the least. I wonder why the Herald editors failed to strongly criticize this warped line of thinking.

  • Inc

    Please do not insult our intelligence. This is hogwash and this Mutasa guy must be ashamed of himself. SA has an unemployment rate of 25% taking into account its resources and also being the economic powerhouse of the continent. If you do not have anything to say please just SHUT UP!!! You will still be paid come month end for doing nothing.

    • Langton

      one thing you should know of you are really into research and national statistics, if a country is experiencing hardships, the employment rate increases and the unemployment decrease,and the rate of joblessness increase, why? for example when you are layed off from your Job today, you not gonna sit and relax, you will find something which brings income home, and this will also push your wife to find some work to do not job, that is she can start rearing chickens, selling tomatoes, thus increasing employment. insteady of you just earning from your job, the household income will be enough for the family and your wife will be a housemaker,

  • Kobus

    Food for work is not employment at all

  • leonard

    Hayas there is a difference between being economically active – as in being capable of employment and actually being employed. In Zimbabwe’s case, yes we have many people who are capable of employment kasi chokwadi ndechekuti vanhu havana mabasa, i.e. they are unemployed. Musade kutivhara kumeso, hazvimbodi degree restatistcics izvi, go into communities and see the reality. MXM!

    • Langton

      havana mabasa, zvoreva kuti they are jobless, not unemployed…concepts bro

  • Murozvi

    “One is either a farmer, selling juice cards, driving an emergency taxi or you are working as a hair dresser, all these people are economically active.” – You left out prostitutes, that brings it down to 5%. Either way, however, while I agree that people by nature have to engage in economic activity for mere survival, we cannot discount the fact that formal employment is more beneficial for the economy as a whole than informal employment. It is not merely a question of saying who is economically active or not and it is not a question of trying to sugar coat and justify better statistics. These people have no access to credit, their only taxes paid are in the form of VAT, they do not qualify to access mortgage loans, they are unable to plan their finances, they have no social security. Instead of trying to portray an “everything is rosy” picture let us look at formalizing their employment and getting companies up and running again..

  • tkzee

    is this true,but from my experience in the long term informally employed persons are economically powered in the long term,but as for now these informally employed guys are eating peanuts

    • Nikuv

      Opps,i thought you all wanted the unemployment rate to be slightly above 10%.Don’t fight each other over these figures;I will consult and release the new rate soon.

    • Treason

      It is a very stupid assertion, we have nurses who have been trained and cannot get a job, many graduates from all sorts of schools are unemployed. This is Treason

  • Shareholder

    kana kusanyara nekubuditsa maReports akadai

  • makwavarara

    This may sound true as very few people now resort to just siting and achimukira undotsavaga basa adzoka manheru. everyone is doing something for a living and its employment. This statistics was supposed to go further and give formal employment figures which matters most.

  • Wolves Witches and Giants

    Even Goebbels would blush with shame!

  • nkulumane

    guys this is sick. how do we move forward if we lie to our own selves that unemployment is @ 11%. is it not true that the first step towards correction of of a mistake is to admit. and lets not fool ourselves. what it shows is that we have sick journalism and a sick statistical agency. if i were the president i would fire everyone at zimstat and see if they shall continue saying unemployment is @ 11%

  • mai tino

    This is the most stupid story that you have ever written. What do u take us for? Yu think we are so stupid that we cant even see the reality on he ground. If university graduates are selling airtime, not by choice, but because they cant sell their service anywhere in this dead economy, and moshaya kana nyadzi muchiti they are economically active then, u are more foolish than i thought. Ndaisimbokutarisirai pasi, but now ndaakukutarisirai pasi-pasi

    • Langton

      Mai tino, if a graduate is selling airtyme inonzi Under-employment, haisi unemployment kikikik, kutozopopota kani…people need education, i think they dont really understand the national income statistics…musataure musati manzvera mabook

    • Langton

      Mai Tino, inini am now doubting your intelligence as well, if a university graduate is selling airtyme, thats under-employment not unemployment….haaa mother maybe you have to understand the concepts pasina ma emmotions…that way you will appreaciate….those guys what they dont have is Jobs, but there are employed in a sector which they are not suppose to be bcoz there are professionals….i urge people to understand the concepts and then argue

      • Muyera Shiri

        This is not a hair splitting exercise wanzwa. The reality vanhu Havana mabasa vari kutokiya kiya and are suffering big time.

        • tasara

          If someone graduates from college or university and fails to get a job, yet he or she is supposed to survive somehow anototokiya kiya kuti ararame. Mumwe anova economically active but in a negative way eg madhiri kuba etc. Unfortunately these informal activities have been classified as employed.

          I think to deal with reality these statistics pple must further analyse their data on these economically active pple and its certain there will discover that most of them indeed “underemployed” and formally unemployed. is it certain plle prefer the informal sector or lack has forced them to engage.

      • termus

        unemployed is unemployed dont hide around words

  • Dee m

    The picture of the article says it all. if unemployemnt rate was 11%, the women in the picture wouldn’t be selling bread rolls in the street. in reality the employment rate is 11% and unemployment rate is 89%.

  • Jongwe

    Even if we say unemployment rate is 0% the bottom line is that Zimbabweans are suffering more than their neighbours from all sides. So whatever figure you say people are not interested in that; people are suffering like you have never seen.

  • Stanford

    pwati pwati pwati pwati kuseka
    Menge mapenzi, the way you look at life. 11% for sure! it can be higher than 90%.

  • Sindiso Ka Mazibisa

    Is this a joke or what?11 percent unemployment rate?lets be serious ple and start working on creating jobs .lets face reality and be practical

  • Patriotic Zimbo

    Haaa unemployment indices are many…One can decide to use what index they want…But the truth is that our country’s capacity utilization is less than what…?40%…So I pose this question?Were is the 89% working on?These people should not mess with our minds…MaZimbo takadzidza I cant sit and listen to babblers like this…

  • Marz

    So there is 0% unemployment rate in the country you mean! If “unpaid family worker” qualifies as employed. I think this article takes our intelligence and level of thinking for granted!

    • Bill

      ZBC has unpaid workers. Do you consider these as workers. If Unpaid ZBC Worker is employed, so too is Unpaid Family Worker

    • bms

      A son who manages the family Kombis but has no salary but benefits from the existance of the business inderectly either by clothes, food, shelter etc is a unpaid family worker. The work he does could be quantified and a salary attached to it.

      • Hacha Ndizvo

        That is not employment. It is called subsistence. Not everyone can be an employer. Employers comprise only 20% of the population so the majority just want decent jobs – not slave labour.

  • Jethro

    “The economically active group stood at 68,8 percent while the economically inactive group was 32,5 percent.” I wonder what kind of a statistician we have here who believes that the active (68.8%) + inactive (32.5%) = 100% not 101.3%? It is this kind of thinking that is ruining our country and this is misinforming government policy and programming. How do you define unemployment then? Given what you define it as then we have above 95% employment rate. Please be serious do not play with the lives of people. You deserve to go on suspension just like Muchechetere

  • zimboy

    Trying to justify their inadequacies, its absurd that a country like ours is said to have 11% unemployment, what rate would the developed countries have. You cant say munhu anofamba scavenging for empty plastic bottles from waste bins is employed. Lets be serious please lest some people will start beating their chest with pride…


    It’s NOT at all entirely surprising that MDC-T supporters & sympathisers like John Robertson will vehemently dispute the unemployment stats!…I’ve always argued that it was not possible to have the unemployment rate of 80% or so that was being touted by our pseudo-analysts and pseudo-economists. Common sense & logic will easily tell you that it’s just NOT possible for 20% of the people to bear the burden of supporting the rest of the population.
    Dissecting the so-called high unemployment figure further, you will discover that it was wrongly premised on FORMAL employment only, totally disregarding INFORMAL employment…this is a serious indictment of our education which discourages thinking outside the box but highly rewards the mindless/uncritical parroting or regurgitation of “facts”! This is based on the faulty thinking that to be useful in life, we should write an “I beg to apply for a job” letter and thereafter have an office job!
    Taking a closer look at the informal sector:
    a) there is more money circulating there than in the formal banking sector!…surely, shouldn’t that count for something?! The fact that our so-called experts are intellectually crippled as to how to tap into those finances [banking, paying taxes, etc] is again an indictment of our “learning by rote” education which discourages innovative thinking
    b) the people in the informal sector -whom the so-called experts love to classify as “unemployed” – are actually feeding & clothing their families, and sending their kids to school. If we’re willing to be honest that should tell us s/thing!

    • Murozvi

      The fact that more money is circulating in the informal than the informal sector is an indication of something terribly wrong with our system. The fact that you celebrate it shows something wrong in YOUR thinking. If the informal sector was so efficient and effective we would not have so many people on the housing backlog. We would not have 40% capacity utilization. We would not be importing South African and Zambian products while exporting skilled labour. We would not have graduates leaving to find jobs in Mozambique or working as cross border traders. You are so busy trying to convince people that things aren’t as bad as they seem instead of getting busy improving things. But I guess that is all a result of sanctions huh?

    • jojo

      maybe you should tell us why ZimAsset was crafted on the basis that unemployment is at 50%

  • rhudzani baloyi

    rather live in RSA where unemployment is at about 25% than in zim where its at 11% heheheheh….

  • rhudzani baloyi

    11% kikikikiki, this is rocket science….

  • jonso

    Saka tinoendesa vana kuchikoro kuti vagotengesa ma juice cards? zvonyandisa izvi

  • Tsapa Tsapa

    I think one of the most important attribute of statistics is they have to be believable. There is absolutely no reason especially in Zimbabwe to politicise statistics. These statistics are important for planning and decision making saka kana todai, I do not even know kuti why are you even paying the Zim Stats officers for. You can just cook your numbers without even carrying out the census. It is cheaper believe me, than stage managing an important exercise like the census. Your stats from the comments just read are of no use to anyone. No one takes them seriously and such your efforts are null. Zimbabwe would have been better of without the figures. Another Mumbengegwi, at one time I remember, stopped Zimstats publications at one time, I would understand that rather than poisioning the nation. With the amount of company closures reported daily and that have taken place from the census period you would think anaDzinotizei to be realistic enough. I heard someone say Zim Asset is an excellent document. Maybe theoritically, otherwise show me the money.

  • dziva

    I thought its 95 percent, unless the statistics were taken in Parliament!

  • majakathatha

    oh my god. are you guys this disillusioned?

  • big blaz

    “Is the best way to in the wrong direction with confidence.”Statistic are just figure oppressors use to try and convince a hungry person that his not hungry.Yet unayo nzara

  • Nyatsimba Mutota

    Hanzi Dzinotizei Mutasa. Kkkkkkk, what are you smoking? Maybe he wants to say unemployment rate is 110%.

  • Gondo

    what a fat lie from Zimstats! are we talking about gainful employment or people doing menial work like selling airtime, selling mazhanje along Mutare road in order to survive etc

  • blackwave

    hey hey hey…this is a very dangerous assertion made by someone who is apparently being paid by taxpayer’s money. it is a shame that a grown man like this guy regards selling juice cards on a street corner as employment. our country has really gone to the dogs…what hogwash!

  • chiendambuya

    if this is how they measure unemployment, them 90% of our school going aged children are employed too…they go to school and after school sell pamsika and all the juice card … just a bit of advice to zimstats — how much is this sector paying into the treasury ..etc

  • jojo

    i wonder who crafted ZimAsset because if its true that the unemployment rate is at 11% why was ZimAsset drafted on the assumption that unemployment is above 50%. This is tragic someone should be fired at Zimstats for misleading the nation.

  • succuba

    The Zanu-PF 2013 manifesto says that Zimbabwe has over 60% unemployment, so who is lying here, this newspaper or the Zanu-PF manifesto?