CLAIM: “In the 2013 People’s Election Manifesto, Zanu PF promised to create 2,2 million jobs. Over the past five years, 4,5 million people have been gainfully employed in new jobs in both the informal and formal sectors, with agriculture, mining and manufacturing contributing over 80%.” — Zanu PF 2018 Election Manifesto, page 54.
Zimbabwe’s jobs data has long been a subject of controversy. While many independent analysts often claim that Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is above 90%, the latest official Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) data puts the jobless figure at 6,6%.
Even the World Bank, citing International Labour Organisation (ILO) data, puts Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate lower, at 5,2% in 2017.
Similarly, Zimstat defines employment as comprising “all persons aged 15 years and above, who during the last seven days preceding the interview, did some work even for just one hour for pay, profit or family gain, in cash or in kind”.
Zimstat data, while using internationally accepted norms of computing employment, shows that 67% (3,75 million) out of Zimbabwe’s economically active population of 5,6 million (according to the recently released 2017 inter-censal demographic survey) are “own-account workers”.
The ILO defines own-account workers as those who are self-employed and do not engage employees on a continuous basis.
Where are the 4,5 million new jobs?
While Zanu PF claims 4,5 million new jobs have been created since the 2013 elections, official data shows that, as of 2017, just over 5,2 million Zimbabweans were in jobs, according to Zimstat’s broad definition of employment, which includes both formal and informal activity.
This figure is down from the 6,2 million jobs recorded in the 2014 labour survey.
Official data, therefore, shows the labour market has actually shrunk, dramatised by the increase in homemakers and students.
Zanu PF’s claim that the economy has added 4,5 million jobs since the last election is demonstrably false, when scrutinised using government’s own data.
The statistics show that about one million jobs — broadly defined by both Zimstat and ILO — have been lost between 2014 and 2017.