Labour Force Survey Q1 2024: 200k jobs created, unemployment rate falls to 20.5%


Zimbabwe witnessed its first quarter-on-quarter rise in employment in the post-Covid era during the first quarter of 2024, according to the latest data released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT). 

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As at 31 March 2024, total employed persons in Zimbabwe had risen to 3,289,853; up from 3,173,293 in Q4 2023. 

This was on the back of 101,352 workers losing their jobs during the same period, meaning that the economy added a total of 217,912 jobs in Q1 2024. 

The total labour force, comprising of persons aged 16 and above, expanded to 4,14 million from 4 million in the previous quarter. The labour force is the aggregation of total employed persons and those actively seeking employment. Likewise, the Labour Force Partcipation Rate (the portion of persons 16 and above that make up the labour force) climbed rom 46.3% to 48%, indicating that almost half of the working-age population is now engaged in the labour market either through employment or active job-seeking.   

A large portion of the total workforce remains in the informal sector, comprising 41.3% of total employment. However, Q1 2024 saw a 2.4% decline in informal employment to 1.36 million workers; alongside a 1.4% rise in formal employment to 988,586. Formally employed persons make up 30% of the total workforce. 

Wholesale and Retail trade, and Agriculture remain the top-employing industries in Zimbabwe; employing 23.9% and 22.9% of the workforce respectively. 48% of informally employed persons are in the Wholesale and Retail trade industry. 

While the unemployment rate remains high at 20.5%, there was a marginal decrease from 20.7% in Q4 2023. This translates to 850,326 unemployed persons in Zimbabwe. 

In spite of all these positives, one concerning statistic remains – income. According to ZIMSTAT, a whopping 83.4% of employed persons take home less than US$362 per month, with almost half of them (34.4%) earning less than US$90 per month. 

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