Malawi’s unemployment rate has constantly remained at 5.9% since 2014, reports tradingeconomics.com; the 5.9 being a drop from 6.1 in 2012. Inquiring why the rate has been constant and what that means, Bizmalawi had a dialogue with various economy enthusiasts.
“The 4 year record means that the Government and private sector haven’t been able to create more jobs” says Hannock Ngwata, an economics lecturer at Blantyre International University, who also added that inflation was mainly to blame for the unchanged unemployment rate. “Around 2013/14, companies had to lay off their employees due to high inflation which was also a sign that the economy wasn’t doing well.”
“I think the rate has been unchanged because of the existence of disguised unemployment in the country” says Takondwa Zuze, an economics student at BIU. (In economics, disguised unemployment is a kind of employment where some people seem to be employed but are actually not.) He adds, “There are people selling items by the road side; they have employed themselves but that is not recorded or reported anywhere”
Since 2015, there have been reports of Malawians fleeing xenophobia in South Africa; a sign that many are turning to other countries for greener pastures. Perhaps this has left the record constant; responding to this, Ngwata says “In theory, it is okay to say that migration contributed to the record, but it must be noted that these people migrated because they were unemployed in the first place. Regardless, their contribution is very minor; maybe 0.001%”
Malawi’s presidential contestants are on campaign, promising jobs to their citizens.