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Kenya staring at a huge unemployment crisis, Report

Kenya staring at a huge unemployment crisis, signaling a worsening youth unemployment in the country.

By 2035, Kenya’s total labor force will rise by 40.6% to 40.4 million, indicating a worsening young unemployment crisis in a market where businesses have frozen hiring.

Despite households having fewer children, according to data from Kenya’s National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the country would gain 11.7 million job seekers over a 15-year period starting in 2020.

This indicates rising unemployment in an economy that isn’t producing enough jobs for high school and college graduates.

According to Business Daily Africa publication, about 36 percent or 10.1 million of the country’s 28 million population in the workforce are out of jobs amid poverty, pointing to a growing dependency burden.

In order to address its severe young unemployment problem, analysts predict that Kenya will need to accelerate economic growth and diversify its economy.

The lack of formal employment is a big issue. Many between 18 and 35 have no job at all despite having university degrees or other suitable qualifications. 

Opportunities have been generated in Kenya as a result of years of robust economic expansion, but most of them are low-paying, informal jobs that are appearing at a rate that analysts say is too slow to keep up with the country’s population increase.

In a current economy that is plagued by job losses and hiring freezes as a result of weak business earnings, the youth are the group most affected by unemployment when compared to their colleagues over the age of 35.

Of the 10.1 million Kenyans out of jobs, 2.5 million are actively looking for work while 7.6 million are inactive, which means they have either given up looking for work or do not need jobs.

Of the new wave of job seekers, Nairobi will add 914,634 by 2035, Kiambu 627, 260, Nakuru 615,976, Narok 465,764, and Kakamega 436,376, says the statistics agency.

The five counties will contribute 26 percent of the total increase, showing how they are attracting the younger population who are searching for work.

The data also reveals that the country’s population will increase by a net of 21.3 million people by 2045 to 70.2 million.

Latest data show that Kenya’s employment market is yet to recover the jobs lost at the peak of Covid-19 economic hardships

The KNBS data show formal jobs created last year stood at about 173,000, signaling a resumption in hiring after economic growth rebounded from Covid-19 shocks.

But the additional salaried jobs in the formal sector fell short of the 192,400 jobs, which were shed a year earlier.

By contrast, more than 562,000 students are enrolled in university, worsening the plight of school leavers.

Firms resorted to layoffs, pay cuts, and unpaid leave policies at height of the pandemic to stay afloat in 2020 following reduced economic activities to contain the spread of the pandemic.

This resulted in the first drop in the number of formal sector employees in 2020 for the first time since 1992.

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