The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) has pegged the country’s unemployment rate at 10.7 percent - a figure that has been dismissed as grossly misleading by economists and the country’s largest labor union.
ZIMSTAT director general Mutasa Dzinotizei, told company executives, representatives of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and other labor unions in Bulawayo that a survey conducted between 2011 and 2012 has revealed that the unemployment rate is far lower than the estimated 90 percent.
Dzinotizei said the survey, involving over 6 million respondents between the ages of 16 and 18, also reveals that only 11 percent of Zimbabweans are in the formal sector.
It defines unemployment as lack of any means of contributing to the country’s gross domestic product.
The ZCTU said the new figures are unrealistic as many Zimbabweans are unemployed and those engaged in ‘street’ businesses cannot be said to be gainfully employed.
Economist John Robertson said the ZIMSTAT figures are fundamentally flawed as the state entity has re-defined unemployment.
The Zimbabwe economy nearly collapsed between 2000 and 2008 due to historic inflation figures resulting from what critics say was the ruling party's skewed economic policies based on a skewed land reform program which left more than 4,000 white commercial farmers landless.
The country's unemployment rate was far below 10 percent before the then Zanu PF government crafted the land reforms.
Interview With John Robertson