PANDEMIC EFFECTS

Over 740,000 jobs in Kenya lost last year — Economic Survey

Number of employed people fell to 17.4 million from 18.1 million at the end of 2020.

In Summary

• CS Yatani said the number of employed people fell to 17.4 million from 18.1 million at the end of 2020.

• According to the report, the total employment outside small-scale agriculture and pastoralist activities contracted by 4.1 per cent to 17.4 million in 2020.

People in search of jobs.
UNEMPLOYMENT People in search of jobs.
Image: REUTERS

Over 740,000 jobs were lost in Kenya due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Treasury CS Ukur Yattani has said.

Speaking when he released the Economic Survey 2021 on Thursday, Yatani said the number of employed people fell to 17.4 million from 18.1 million at the end of 2020.

In the Survey, Yatani said wage employment in the private sector also declined.

“Wage employment in the public sector increased. Informal sector employment contracted. 2.9 million jobs were reported in the formal sector in 2020,” the report indicates.

Wage employment in the private sector declined by 10.0 per cent from 2,063,000 jobs in 2019 to stand at 1,856,000 jobs.

Within the public sector, wage employment increased from 865,200 in 2019 to 884,600 in 2020.

According to the report, the total employment outside small-scale agriculture and pastoralist activities contracted by 4.1 per cent to 17.4 million in 2020.

In the report, 83 per cent of recorded employment in 2020 was in the informal sector while 2.9 million jobs were reported in the formal sector in 2020.

Informal sector employment is estimated to have contracted to 14.5 million jobs compared to 15.1 million jobs in 2019.

The nominal wage bill for private and public sectors declined from Sh2,279.0 billion in 2019 to Sh2,197.6 billion in 2020 mainly due to a decrease of 6.6 per cent wage bill in the private sector.

Kenyans had to live in the new normal, with the reality of Covid-19 which triggered massive job losses in 2020.

In the first three months of the pandemic, more than 1.7 million Kenyans had lost their jobs according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

According to the Economic Report, Real domestic growth contracted to -0.3 per cent owing to disruption caused by Covid-19.

"The economy was supported by accelerated growth in agricultural production, construction and health services," the report read.

The performance of the Transport and Storage sector was also affected by Covid-19 containment measures with the volume of commercial cargo traffic handled decreasing by 8.9 per cent.

Edited by D Tarus