Historic jobs growth!

19 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Historic jobs growth!

The Sunday Mail

. . .Agric, infrastructure driving employment opportunities

Emmanuel Kafe

THE last six years were a period of unprecedented job growth, as new employee registrations with the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), which represent the number of people entering formal employment, rose to about 700 000, it has been learnt.

Last year saw the second-highest number of new hires, with NSSA registering over 179 000 new entrants in the job market.

However, 2019 was the peak period for employment creation, recording a staggering 242 998 new jobs in the formal sector.

The data also reflects the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a slump in new job creation documented in 2020 as economic activity slowed.

Zimbabwean law mandates all formally employed individuals to be registered with NSSA’s pension schemes, which are supposed to provide financial security upon retirement.

Registration figures offer insights into the dynamics of the job market, reflecting the number of new formal jobs created and the rate of people leaving employment.

Crucially, the data shows that “exits from employment are in decline”.

The agriculture sector emerged as the leading job creator during the reviewed 2017-2023 period, followed by the retail and general business sectors.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, NSSA board chairperson Dr Emmanuel Fundira said the past five years were unprecedented in the country’s history in terms of job creation.

“We can’t even use the term best; we can say these past five years totally eclipsed what happened since independence,” he said.

“We have never received such fresh levels of energy in terms of zeal and determination of focus towards development.

“This is one area which had suffered over the years.

“And most of the repairs and the maintenance we are doing today, had that thrust been carried on since independence, we would be talking of a different Zimbabwe altogether.”

The substantial increase in new jobs, he said, was supported by the ongoing infrastructural development projects across the country.

“If you look at the real estate sector, it is one area where we are fairly strong in terms of property development.

“There have been quite a lot of new industrial developments, business malls, shopping malls, which have been opened under the Second Republic.

“You look at the new roads in the city . . . trunk roads are also being rehabilitated, whilst new ones are being developed.

“The new developments and the speed at which infrastructure is being restored is just unimaginable.”

Statistics obtained from NSSA show that 15 652 new workers were registered in 2017, before the figure rose marginally to 20 640 the following year.

The year 2019 witnessed a total of 242 998 people being registered as new workers, before the Covid-induced slowdown in 2020 led to just 78 409 people entering the job market.

There was a substantial improvement in 2021, with 121 145 people securing formal jobs, while just 16 517 entered employment in 2022.

Last year, a total of 179 277 new workers registered with NSSA.

The figures only capture formal employment numbers and do not account for those who have found work in the informal or semi-formal sectors of the economy, which are substantial.

In a separate interview, NSSA’s marketing and communications deputy director Mr Tendai Mutseyekwa said there has been a sustained upward trend in new registrations with the statutory body.

“The analysed data shows that there is a general increase in the trend of new registrations throughout the review period,” he said.

“Exits from employment are on a decline.

“Males are still dominating the labour market, according to the provided data.

“The peak period for new jobs creation was in 2019, where 242 998 new jobs were registered.”

He also said, had it not been for Covid-19, the growth trajectory would have been even better.

“The data analysed provides information on contributors who were registered with NSSA schemes for the period 2017 to 2023.

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on new job registration is depicted by a sharp decline in new registrations in the year 2020, where the intensity of national lockdowns was the highest,” he added.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Mr Christopher Mugaga said the solid job numbers were evidence of growth in crucial sectors of the economy.

“The increase in the number of people who are entering employment is because we have seen the expansion of the agriculture, manufacturing and construction sectors,” he said.

“We have seen several manufacturing industries coming to life and we are not surprised that we are seeing an increase in the number of jobs being created.

“Jobs are being created because we have seen investment in new infrastructure, be it building or equipment itself.

“All these are factors triggering job creation, including even increased tourist visits.”

Economic analyst Mr Edmore Gwapare said the positive trend in employment figures underscores the transformative impact of the current administration’s policies and initiatives.

“The surge in job opportunities can be attributed to the Second Republic’s policies, which have significantly enhanced capacity utilisation in industries and prompted the rehiring of workers who had previously lost employment.

“These policies directly contribute to the creation of new job opportunities, breathing fresh life into the Zimbabwean labour market,” he said.

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