Kenya’s quarterly labor force survey for the second quarter shows that the youth continue to suffer from unemployment and underemployment. The survey analyzed the labor market situation for the population aged 15 to 64 years for the period from April to June 2020.
In the second quarter, unemployment rose to 10.4% compared to 5.2% registered in the first three months of 2020. The statistics coincide with the Covid-19 led lock-down, that has seen firms downsize and send employees on voluntary leave.
The highest proportion of the unemployed was recorded in the age groups 20-24 and 25-29 registering 22.8% and 21.7% unemployment rate respectively. Furthermore, the two age cohorts had the highest increase each in unemployment over the three months at 10.1% and 14.3% respectively.
In addition, the quarter saw a rise in unemployed persons to 4.6 million from 2.9 million in Q1. This saw the combined rate of unemployment and potential labor force rise to 22.6% from 14.3% in the first quarter of the year.
The unemployment rate in the second quarter of 2020 has doubled from the 4.7% recorded in the second quarter of 2019.
The labor force participation rate in the quarter 2 stood at 64.4% down from 67.9% recorded in Q1.2020 and down from 69.7% registered in a similar period last year. The employment to population ratio in the country, for the working age population, was down 8.8 percent to 57.7% in the quarter compared to 66.5% in a similar quarter last year.
Labor force participation rate measures the proportion of a country’s working-age population that engages actively in the labor market, either by working or looking for work.
The Labor Under-utilization which is the combined rate of time-related underemployment and unemployment more than doubled to 17.2 per cent in quarter 2 of 2020 compared to 8.3 per cent recorded in the previous quarter. The number of people who were time related underemployed increased from 577,443 in quarter 1 of 2020 to 1,199,602 in quarter 2 of 2020.
The latest statistics indicate a significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both unemployment and underemployment.