Harare – Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is 5.42%, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
Unemployment rates in Zimbabwe are often reported to be between 80 and 90%, but these rates did not take into account the vast numbers of people in informal employment.
According to a chart published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN agency, on its website Zimbabwe’s real unemployment rate has hovered around 5% since 2006. An exception was when it reached 6.4% in 2009.
Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary crisis peaked in late 2008 before a unity government was sworn in, in February 2009.
The numbers of those in formal employment are steadily decreasing in Zimbabwe as an economic squeeze tightens. More than 6 000 people were reported officially retrenched last year. Zimbabwe has more than 230 000 civil servants.
Efforts by President Robert Mugabe’s government to tax the vast informal sector are being met with resistance. Late last year, authorities in Harare announced plans to force airtime, vegetable and newspaper vendors to pay $1 (around R11.61 at current exchange rates) in tax per day.
Most of those working in the informal sector earn less than $200 per month.
The ILO predicts Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate will stay around 5.4% until at least 2016, according to its online chart.
In contrast South Africa’s unemployment rate is 25.01%, the ILO said.