Labour force survey shows falling trends in unemployment

Job seekers get some information during an open day where they meet with job providers at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village. Sam Ngendahimana.

Unemployment rate among Rwandans stands at 15.1 per cent, meaning that for every seven persons in the labour force there is one person unemployed.

The latest statistics, which are contained in a new labour force survey, show that the unemployment is 3.7 per cent lower than the previous year.

The report, by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), puts the number of unemployed people at 571,660 out of more than 3.78 million people in the labour force (the sum of persons in employment plus persons in unemployment).

In the 2017 survey, the unemployment rate was at 17.8 per cent.

The rate of unemployed people obtained in August 2017 as per the 2017 survey was 1 percentage point lower than the one recorded in August 2016 when it stood at 18.8 per cent, indicating that roughly for every five persons in the labour force, there was one person unemployed in 2016, according to the survey of 2016.

The 2018 survey revealed that unemployment rate was higher among women (17.1 per cent) than among men (13.5 per cent) and higher among young people (18.7) than among adults (12.3 per cent).

The statistics body introduced the occupation related surveys in 2016 as a means to providing concerned government ministries critical statistics to inform policy.

Yusuf Murangwa, the Director General of NISR, said that the main contributing factor to the reduction in unemployment rate is economic growth, which said stems the tide of unemployment.

“When economy is performing well and is growing in areas that provide jobs, it is understandable that employment gets available. What we found out is that, jobs in three sectors, namely construction, industry, and hotels and restaurants increased this year compared to last year,” he said.

Services employ 41.7 per cent of the working age population; agriculture offers jobs to 39.5 per cent, excluding subsistence foodstuff production, while industry employs 18.8 per cent, indicates the 2018 report.

According to the survey results, among more than 6.96 million persons 16 years old and above living in private households, more than 3.78 million persons, representing 54.2 per cent were in the labour force, either employed (more than 3.2 million) or unemployed (571,660) this year.

The remaining 3,187,100 persons were outside the labour force, including some 1.7 million people engaged wholly or mostly in subsistence foodstuff production, not classified as employment, according to the new international standards on statistics of work, employment and labour underutilisation.

Under the new international standards, employment in agriculture sector includes only those who produce agriculture good intended mainly for sale or barter and those who work for pay in agriculture.

 Félicien Mutalikanwa, the Chairman of Rwanda Association of Manufacturers, said that factories in Rwanda are increasing, which results in arise in of employment.

“We have about new five major factories in agro-processing [including Africa Improved Foods] which were set up in the last three years, and they have taken on many workers,” he said.

The 2017 survey results show that of more than 6.8 million people of working age, about 3,600,900 persons, representing 52.9 per cent, were in the labour force, either employed (2,959,965) or unemployed (640,951).

In the 2016 report, among the 6,573,000 persons 16 years old and above – who were in the working age bracket–, about 3,329,000 persons representing 51 per cent ,were in the labour force, either employed (2,703,000) or unemployed (626,000).