04 May 2020

Declining trend in Unemployment rate

The Rwanda unemployment rate has been varying between 14.5 and 15.4 percent in last four quarters of 2019 and has continue to decline in the 1st Quarter 2020 up to 13.1% a figure that has not yet achieved in last four years. As a result, the number of population out of labour force has increased as compared to the previous quarter and the number of working age population in subsistence agriculture has increased. The number of unemployed has increases from 542 thousand to the 620 thousands and the number of employed persons has increased from about 3,186,000 in February 2019(Q1) to about 3,406,000 in November 2019(Q4) and to 3,569 Thousand in Feb_2020(Q1).

The employment went up is services sectors (+4.5%) and declined in Agriculture (-3%) and industry (-2%) sector in comparison to 1st and 4th Quarter 2019. It has been observed that in 2020(Q1)  The sectors that employed a substantial number of persons were wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (11.9 percent), Construction (8.7 percent), Manufacturing (5.5 percent), Activities of households as employers (5.1 percent); transportation and storage (4.4 percent), Education (3.6 percent), and Accommodation and food service activities (3.3 percent).

The Labour force participation rate which is the percentage of the working age population engaged in the labour force has increased by 2.4 percentage points from 44.9 in February 2019(Q1) to 46.6 % in November 2019 and to  48.3% in February 2020(Q1).

These results provide evidence of the positive performance of the labour market of Rwanda during the last three years as well as the strength of the labour force survey as measurement instrument.

The February 2019 Q1 result shows declining rates of unemployment and labour underutilization.

The unemployment has shown a declining trend in urban and rural areas, among youth and adults alike. The declining unemployment rate is also confirmed with other indicators of labour underutilization. The trends of Combined rate of time-related underemployment (LU2) and unemployment, Combined rate of potential labour force and unemployment (LU3) were generally more (about 40 Percent) and the trends of Composite measure of labour underutilization, combining time-related underemployment, unemployment and potential labour (LU2) remained more or less stable (about 57 percent).

Further articles will shade light on the effect of Codi_19 on employment


Labour statistical research Team Leader