- In Kenya, the average unemployment rate according to Trading Economics stood at 4.9 per cent as of January last year.
- The rate reached an all time high of 12.20 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a record low of 4.70 per cent in the second quarter of 2019.
Job seekers, will increase this year above the 2023 records, pushing up the unemployment rate by about 1.9 per cent, a new study shows
The World Employment and social Outlook Trends by the International Labour Organisation attributes the gloomy prospect to the uneven Covid-19 pandemic recovery, after it's impact on the global labour market.
“This as new vulnerabilities and multiple crises erode prospects for greater social justice,” the report reads.
“Both the unemployment rate and the jobs gap rate, which is the number of persons without employment who are interested in finding a job, have fallen below pre-pandemic levels. The 2023 global unemployment rate stood at 5.1 per cent, a modest improvement from 2022 when it stood at 5.3 per cent.”
The report adds that general jobs gap and labour market participation rates also improved in 2023, however, beneath these numbers, it says fragility is starting to emerge, triggering an extra two million workers who are expected to be looking for jobs this year, raising the global unemployment rate from 5.1 per cent in 2023 to 5.2 per cent.
In Kenya, the average unemployment rate according to Trading Economics stood at 4.9 per cent as of January last year.
Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) concurs this saying the unemployment rate in the country decreased to 4.90 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2022, from 5.30 per cent in the third quarter of 2022.
“The rate reached an all time high of 12.20 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a record low of 4.70 per cent in the second quarter of 2019,” KNBS says.
Federation of Kenya Employers recently warned of more job losses in the country as a result of the implementation of the Finance Act, 2023 and the weakening shilling that is adversely affecting businesses.
In its update on the cost of doing business in the country, the body said the above mentioned factors have made the cost of doing business unsustainable by negatively impacting cash flows for many enterprises thereby impacting payrolls.
Its preliminary survey revealed that 70,000 Kenyans had lost jobs in the period between October 2022 and November 2023, and more were at risk of losing their employment as employers consider more job cuts.
About 40 per cent of employers were noted to have plans on reducing the number of employees to meet the increasing costs of operating in Kenya.
ILO’s recent projection could mean further gloom in the country’s labour market, as more people will be rendered jobless.
Moreover, the report says with the prevailing post-covid effects, working poverty is likely to persist.
“Despite quickly declining after 2020, the number of workers living in extreme poverty (earning less than $2.15 (Sh343) per person per day in purchasing power parity terms), grew by about one million in 2023,” the report reads.
“The number of workers living in moderate poverty (earning less than $3.65 (Sh582) per day per person) also increased by 8.4 million.”
Rates of informal work are expected to remain static, accounting for around 58 per cent of the global workforce in 2024.
ILO therefore cautions the falling living standards and weak productivity combined with persistent inflation could create the conditions for greater inequality and undermine efforts to achieve social justice.
“Without greater social justice, we will never have a sustainable recovery,” it says.