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Majority employed in informal sector — Zimstat survey

THE majority of people in Zimbabwe are employed in the informal economy, according to a survey carried out by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat).

Report by Our Staff

The informal economy refers to activities and income that are partially or fully outside government regulation, taxation and observation.

“The currently employed population aged 15 years and above, was estimated to be 5,4 million and of these, 84% were considered to be in informal employment, 11% were in formal employment and 5% were in employment not classifiable,” reads a section of the survey.

The survey is intended to provide useful information for formulating policies on employment, macro-economic monitoring, as well as incomes support, among others.

Zimstat carries out a Labour Force and Child Labour Survey (LFCLS) after every five years, with the last one having been conducted in June 2004.

The survey was due in 2009, but as a result of the economic problems that befell the country then, it was not possible to conduct through instruments that had been developed at a stakeholder workshop in 2008.

The 2011 LFCLS was carried out from the June 9 to 29 last year.
Last year’s LFCLS estimated that around 69% of the informal sector employees were in the broad age group of 20 to 39 years.

According to the survey, the distribution of the informal sector employees by industrial sector showed that the largest number of employees were in the wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles, thereby constituting 52%, followed by other services and manufacturing at 14% each.

The distribution of the informal sector employees aged 15 years and above by highest level of education completed, showed that 85% of the informal sector employees had primary or secondary level of education.

Experts say Zimbabwe’s high unemployment rate, pegged at well above 80% due to the sustained decline in economic production levels, has been cited as one of the key underlying reasons behind spiralling informal sector activity.

A significant number of traders in the country’s informal economy sell a variety of products depending on location.

For instance, at most furniture manufacturing complexes like Glen View 7, traders sell commodities ranging from timber, adhesives, paints, nails and all hardware needed, providing convenience to manufacturers.

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