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Unemployment rate increases to 29.6%

Namibia’s unemployment rate went up marginally by 2.2% to 29.6 % in 2013, results of the first annual Labour Force Survey released Thursday shows.
The survey collected data of the labour market activities of 33 744 individuals aged 15 years and above who lived in the country on the reference night of 29 September 2013. The survey found out that out of the total labour force of just under 1 million, 493,006 people live in urban areas while the remaining 487,775 live in rural areas.
About 60 000 more people were employed in 2013 compared to 2012 despite the unemployment rate increasing slightly by 2.2%.
 The figures also show that the number of males that got jobs last year was slightly less than that of their female counterparts. Statistician General Dr John Steytler said this is probably explained by the nature of jobs that were available last year.

Despite this, the unemployment rate for females remains higher than that for males with an overall unemployment rate of 33.1% compared to 25.8% for males.
A worrying trend was observed in employment figures for the youth aged between 15 and 34. The youth unemployment rate increased to 41% in 2013 from 37% the previous year, but Steytler said this should not be a cause for concern. He said the recent announcement of free secondary education beginning 2016 should see a drop in the youth unemployment rate going forward.
“I am not too worried about the youth unemployment because this problem can be solved relatively easier. If you put them (youth) back to school, now that government is introducing free secondary education, more people that are 15, 16, 17 and 18 years, we will not count them as economically active.”
Steytler said It still pays off to go to school as those people with a university degree had better opportunities to secure employment last year. Data from the NSA shows that people with a university education (7.2%), teachers’ training (5.8%) or a post graduate qualification (1.9%) face the least risk of being unemployed while the highest unemployment rates are found amongst those with junior secondary education (36.6%) and primary education (31.7%).
The survey used the broad definition of employment which requires that those unemployed were available for work in the preceding seven days, but does not require them to actively seek work.
The Statistician General said he was happy with the outcome of the survey. “We are very happy with what we have done. What is important now is we can compare apples with apples. The 52% and the 27% was not comparable. But in 2012 and 2013 we have done exactly the same and now its comparable.”
Steytler said Namibia is now the only country south of the Sahara with an annual labour force survey.

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