More than 170 000 new jobs have been created in various sectors of the economy since 2017, with employment figures continuing on an upward trajectory since the advent of the New Dispensation nearly four years ago.
Data obtained from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), collated through P3 forms submitted by new employees, shows that over 7 000 jobs have been created in the first four months of this year.
Job creation figures peaked at 57 265 in 2018 before slowing to 46 208 the following year.
Official statistics show that just under 40 000 people were employed last year when the economy took a battering from Covid-19.
The Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) described the latest figures as “a positive signal in any economy.”
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) describes an employee as anyone who works for a public or private employer for more than 30 hours per week, while an employer is any individual or entity that employs a worker for more than 30 hours a week.
Responding to questions from The Sunday Mail, NSSA deputy director (marketing and communication), Mr Tendai Mutseyekwa, said the agriculture sector accounted for the bulk of the new jobs at 28 997 since 2017, while 27 546 new jobs were created in the manufacturing sector.
He said over the same period, the mining sector took up 12 777 new employees, while the commercial and transport sectors accounted for 53 984 and 5 792 new workers, respectively.
In addition, the public administration and health sectors took up 19 684 new employees, while 5 787 people were employed in the education and professional sport sectors.
The post and telecommunications sector had 1 547 new workers while the civil engineering, construction and motor vehicle repair sectors took up 13 309 new employees.
“A cumulative total of 172 068 new employments have been registered from the year 2017 to date,” said Mr Mutseyekwa.
“While the commercial sector accounts for 31 percent of the new jobs, farming alone comes second with 17 percent, indicating the role of agriculture in the economy.
“The commercial sector constitutes many small sub-players, making agriculture the highest contributor to the new job creation over the period.”
EMCOZ president Mr Israel Murefu said the new job numbers point towards an economic rebound.
“Generally, employment growth, especially in the private sector, is associated with economic recovery and businesses experiencing higher capacity utilisation, new investment coming, whether foreign or local, as well as increasing aggregate demand in the economy,” said Mr Murefu.
“An increase in employment numbers is a positive signal in any economy, Zimbabwe included.
“What we have seen in 2020 and part of 2021 is falling employment numbers as a result of the impact of Covid-19 and our projection is that it may take up to 2 or 3 years for employment to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels before we can expect further growth especially in the formal sector.”
He said there were prospects for increased job creation in the future on account of the stability in the economy induced by stability of the official exchange rate and falling inflation.
“Stability enables businesses to plan with a measure of certainty and promotes further investment as well as improved productivity and capacity utilisation.
“These are also the ingredients for employment or jobs creation in our economy and so we hope the stability in the exchange rate and the falling trend in inflation are sustained.”
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Henry Ruzvidzo attributed the rising employment figures to a cocktail of business friendly policies being implemented by Government.
He said promulgation of Statutory Instrument SI 64 of 2016 allowed for increased investment in the food processing sector.
The SI was introduced with the objective of boosting domestic production by protecting local industries from unfair competition from foreign firms.
“Investment in industry occurred in response to SI 64 when investment started coming into the food processing sector,” said Mr Ruzvidzo.
“Local manufacturers also upgraded to take advantage of the assured local market.
“Export competitiveness was improved by the rebasing of the economy following the introduction of the local currency in 2019.
“This allowed for an improvement in volumes of manufactured products.”
He said there was a sustained increase in capacity utilisation last year after production was bolstered by improved availability of foreign currency.
The current conditions are conducive for further development of industry.
“Challenges experienced with the auction system in the past two months need to be addressed though,” said Mr Ruzvidzo.
“The right monetary policy with the commitment to keep money supply growth in check are good developments that will ensure the necessary stability for growth.
“Competitiveness of the economy remains important to maintain the positive trajectory. The regulatory environment, consistency of policies and careful monitoring of key policy outcomes will be key to ensure progress.”