'Sh1,000 could buy you more in 2018 than in 2017,' according to Survey

About 17.8 million Kenyans who were engaged in gainful economic activities enjoyed a lower cost of living last year.

According to the latest economic survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), an employee with Sh1,000 could buy more goods and services with the money in 2018 than they did the previous year.

The survey showed that the economy grew by 6.3 per cent. 

The 2019 Economic Survey showed that real wages – those which have been adjusted for inflation – increased by 3.2 per cent in 2018 compared to a decline of 2.7 per cent recorded in 2017 as the economy generated an extra 1.15 trillion in the 12 months.

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In 2017, a tough economic environment as a result of drought, protracted election and poor credit depressed earnings even as prices of consumer products increased by eight per cent, a situation that affected workers' purchasing power.

The annual inflation rate at which prices of products increased, decreased from eight per cent in 2017 to 4.7 per cent in 2018.

Another report

This even as another report by Central Bank of Kenya, KNBS and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) revealed that a majority of Kenyans are worse off this year financially than they were three years ago.

The 2019 FinAccess Household Survey found that most Kenyans are increasingly having difficulty meeting their day-to-day needs, with those polled saying they are less prepared to deal with emergencies such as diseases, and had little money to invest or save.

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Overall, the fraction of Kenyans who are financially healthy  – those able to set aside some cash for a rainy day and remain with little after spending on essentials  – declined from 39.4 per cent in 2016 to 21.7 per cent this year, reflecting tough economic times.

Majority of Kenyans, 14.86 million, eked out a living from the informal sector compared to 2.76 million in the modern sector employment.

In total, there were 17.78 million Kenyans in employment in 2018 compared to 16.9 million the previous year.

Fewer decent jobs in the modern sector were created in 2018, with the national statistician attributing the decline to the expiry of hired temporary workers by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in 2017 as well as the decision by counties to stop hiring.

Kenyans produced goods and services worth 1.15 trillion, pushing up the size of the economy to Sh8.9 trillion.

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As a result, the worth of each Kenyan, known as Gross Domestic Product per capita (per person), rose from Sh174,790.7 in 2017 to Sh186,296.7 in 2018.

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KNBS2019 Economic Survey