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No new data shows Kenya unemployment touches 40%

This article is more than 5 years old

A United Nations agency has ranked Kenya as “having the highest unemployment rate in East African region”, a popular Kenyan news website reported in August 2018.

Tuko claimed that a “recent study” by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found “the rate is capped at at least 39.1%” in Kenya.

When Africa Check asked Tuko for its source, it shared a report of UNDP activities in Kenya in 2017 and a link to business website Soko Directory. We did not find the figure in the report, however.

Soko Directory shared three links to Kenyan news reports on unemployment, including Tuko’s article, with Africa Check. The other two - from the East African and the Standard - both said the UN’s 2017 Human Development Index (HDI) put Kenya’s unemployment rate at 39.1%.

Unemployment rate of 9.2%, according to UNDP

The UNDP previously told Africa Check that its 2016 Human Development Report, released in March 2017, was its most recent for unemployment.

The report places Kenya’s unemployment rate at 9.2%, citing International Labour Organisation data as its source. New unemployment data for Kenya will be available in November 2018, the ILO previously told Africa Check.

Calculation misses the mark

The 39.1% figure appears to have been calculated from the report’s finding that Kenya’s employment-to-population ratio was 60.9% (100% – 60.9% = 39.1%).

But the ratio of employment to population does not translate into the unemployment rate, a labour expert told Africa Check. While it may be a good measure of employment, it is not necessarily a good one of unemployment.

The country’s most recent official unemployment rate is 7.4%, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. An analysis of how this was calculated can be read here. - Lee Mwiti (14/08/2018)

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