14 October 2019

Rwanda’s unemployment rate increasing in Quarter 3, 2019

UR=Unemployment rate, EPR=Employment to population Ratio, LFPR=Labour Force Participation Rate

Rwanda Labour Force Survey (LFS) started in 2016 with an annual sample spread into two rounds to provide bi-annual estimates of main labour market indicators at National level. From February 2019, the sample was spread into four rounds to provide estimates of labour market indicators at national level on quarterly basis with an objective to provide data on the structure and trends of labour force, employment and unemployment as well as other related labour market statistics for the implementation and evaluation of economic and social policies related to employment creation, income generation, skills development, and related decent work policies. It collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 14 years and above who live in ordinary household. However, this article only covers labour market activities of persons aged 16 years and above.

In August 2019 (Q3), the working age population (16 years and above) was around 7.2 million and the population in the labour force constituted the majority of working age population. The proportion of population in labour force has slightly decreased compared to the previous quarter of the survey. In August 2019 (Q3), the youth (16-30 years old) constituted 44.2 percent of the population in the labour force and this proportion has slightly increased as compared to the previous Quarter of the survey May 2019 (Q2)

From 2016 to 2018,the unemployment rate in Rwanda has been  declining while the employment to population and Labour force participation Rate is increasing. Unemployment has decreased by 0.7 percentage points from 16.7 in February 2017 to 16.0 percent in February 2019. Again it has decline by 1.8 percentage points between August 2017 and August 2019.

However, during this year, Unemployment rate has shown an increasing trend. Quarter to Quarter comparison shows an increasing trend of unemployment rate from 14.5 percent in February 2019_Q1 to 15.5 and rose again to 16.0 percent in August 2019_Q3. The employment to population ratio which is the proportion of Labour force (Either employed or unemployed) to the working age population, increased from 44.9 percent in February 2019_Q1 to 45.7 percent in May 2019_Q2 and slightly declined to 43.9 percent in August 2019_Q3. Labour force participation rate follow the same patterns as Employment to population which may be due to the change in age structure or other socio economic effects.


Labour statistician Research Team Leader