Every whatsapp group, every Facebook group and page on my feed has the same theme, hustling. This can be a group discussing ideas of side hustling or it can be someone’s page promoting their side hustle. But the one thing that is in common is what can you do to increase the dollar in your pocket. This led me to a little study where I wanted to discuss the issue from a position of authority; so I searched:
What is the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe? Below are the results I found from a website called statista.com
My first impulse was to laugh at the ludicrousness of it all because I was expecting 50% or higher, there is no way the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe would currently be 4.9%. Firstly, a great number of our biggest companies have since closed down, Zisco Steel, Bata, to name but a few, rendering a huge number of the population jobless. Secondly, the vendors on the streets are a bit too many. Thirdly, the number of times that the Reserve Bank has to change limits so as to block the illegal forex traders is a bit too frequent.
Then after a second, I decided to dig deeper into the statistic. I wanted to understand this from Statista.com’s point of view. Firstly, I thought the parameters of their test might have been wrong, and then secondly, I thought their findings had a sampling error, meaning their sample was not representing the entire population. All these were not satisfactory, eventually I realised it was in the definition of the word, “employment”. where we differed. The first thing that comes to mind when one says employment is formal work that provides tax -deducted income. But then isn’t it also employment when there is work that provides income even though it’s not tax-deducted as our informal traders are doing. Self employment be it vendors, forex traders, hustlers from home are earning something to put their bread on their table. It might not be formal employment but its employment. This then changes the way one looks at things meaning the statistics from Statista.com are correct as 95% of the population are in formal and informal employment, they are making a plan outside what the government can do for them.
They are hustling, hustling with its risks of arrests and its volatility is what’s keeping us afloat. The hustling is giving the positive outlook that we are not 95% unemployed but actually 95% employed, even though its informal. I guess for a poor country like ours we are not doing badly then because even South Africa with its 25% unemployment rate might learn a few things from us (wink).
I feel some terms need to be defined better though.