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Job unavailability on the rise

By Elorm Desewu

Job availability in the country has declined significantly by 8.4 percent for the first two months of 2022. The number of jobs advertised in selected print and online media, which partially gauges labour demand in the economy, decreased in February 2022 relative to the corresponding period a year ago.

Cumulatively, the number of jobs advertised in the first two months of 2022 decreased by 4.4 percent to 5,370 from 5,618 recorded in the corresponding period of 2021. The year-on-year decline in the number of jobs advertised reflected some of the difficulties faced by businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In total, 2,746 job adverts were recorded as compared with 2,999 for the same period in 2021, indicating a decline of 8.4 percent year-on-year. On a month-on-month basis, the number of job vacancies in February 2022, however, increased by 4.6 percent.

Total number of private sector SSNIT contributors, which partially gauges employment conditions, improved to 828,061 up by 2.4% year-on-year in January 2022 compared with 808,301 for the same period in 2021. On a month-on-month basis, total number of private sector SSNIT contributors decreased by 4.1 percent from the 863,094 individuals recorded in December 2021.

The Bank’s updated Composite Index of Economic Activity (CIEA) recorded an annual growth of 4.2 percent in January 2022, compared with 13.9 percent recorded in the corresponding period of 2021.

The consumer and business confidence surveys conducted in February 2022 revealed a softening of sentiments with business confidence declining by a greater extent. The Consumer Confidence Index eased from 88.1 in December 2021 to 87.4 in February 2022 on account of the persistent increases in fuel prices, increases in transportation fares and rising inflation.

Businesses were concerned about the impact of these on macroeconomic conditions as well as on their short-term targets and profitability for 2022. Consequently, the Business Confidence Index dipped from 98.4 in December 2021 to 88.8 in February 2022.

Real sector activity is expected to continue to recover, although still below potential. In the outlook, activity is expected to improve in the medium-term on the back of positive real sector expectations and rising foreign demand. However, tighter monetary conditions and the on-going fiscal consolidation are likely to moderate the pace of the recovery in the forecast horizon.

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