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Over 500,000 condemned to 'jobless corner' for a year

By Dominic Omondi | April 2nd 2020

Close to half a million Kenyans 'tarmacked' for more than a year without getting a job, a new labour report has shown.

The quarterly labour report from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that another 600,000 Kenyans were forced to work in low-paying or low-skilled jobs after being jobless for a long while.

In total, there were about 929,595 unemployed Kenyans between October and December last year, which in strict terms means that they did not have a job but had actively been looking for one in the past four weeks before the survey was conducted.

According to the report, the national unemployment rate stood at 4.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year compared to 5.3 per cent in the third quarter.

The unemployment rate is, however, radically different from what the national statistician gave in its 2019 census report, which showed that 11.6 per cent of economically active Kenyans, or 2.6 million people, were actively looking for work.  

“The results show that the economically active population was 22.3 million, comprising the working (19.7 million) and those seeking work (2.6 million),” read part of the census report for 2019.

The quarterly labour report also showed that there were more than eight million working-age citizens who were neither working nor actively looking for work, and were thus left out of labour force participation.

This included 2.6 million Kenyans aged between 25 and 64. Some of these people might have given up on job-hunts, while others might have been sick, students or early retirees.

This is the first time the national statistician is releasing the report, which will now be published every two quarters.


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