Integrated Household Budget Survey
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
KNBS Director General Zachary Mwangi
Trading Economics
United Nations Development Programme

Has number of unemployed Kenyans dropped? Here are the numbers

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – The number of unemployed Kenyans has dropped to 7.4 per cent, down from 9.7 per cent in 2009 and 12.7 percent in 2006.

This is according to data submitted by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in the 2015/2016 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey.

Broken down, out of the 19.3 million Kenyans in the total labour force, 17.9 million Kenyans are employed, 1.4 million are underemployed while 5.6 million Kenyans are economically inactive.

As far as working patterns are concerned, 63.2 per cent of the workforce is on a full time basis, 12.6 percent are casual workers, 13.6 per cent are seasonal worker while 9.5 per cent are part time workers.

The data is however in contrast to figures by other organizations.

Data by the United Nations Development Programme last year said that 39.1 per cent of the Kenyans population of working age was unemployed compared to Tanzania’s 24 per cent and Uganda’s 21.6 per cent.

In 2016, Trading Economics said unemployment rates in Kenya decreased to 11 per cent in 2016 from 11.29 per cent in 2015.

Trends and Insights for Africa in December last year said that 53 per cent of Kenyan youths are unemployed, 41 per cent are employed while 6 per cent are self-employed.

KNBS Director General Zachary Mwangi however told the press that the survey was produced in line with international standards and was robustly accurate.

“We used the strict definition of unemployment, which falls into three categories, having worked for at least one hour during the past one week when the survey was done, actively looking for a job and availability to take up employment,” Mwangi said.

KNBS also suggests that the number of poor Kenyans is reducing. As such, Kenyans living below Sh200 a day has dropped to 36.1 per cent from 46 per cent.

Survey results also showed that 32.0 per cent of the population was living below the food poverty line while 8.6 per cent were found to be experiencing hardcore/extreme poverty.

Overall, poverty head count was comparatively higher in rural areas 40.1 per cent than in peri-urban 27.5 per cent and core-under areas at 29.4 per cent.

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