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.”