Where private jobs were gained or lost in 2023

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Compiled by John Waweru | Designed by Stanslaus Manthi

The private sector recorded the slowest job growth last year since the onset of Covid-19 economic hardships in 2020, blunting the power of entrepreneurs in easing the mounting youth unemployment.

Investors added 68,000 jobs last year compared with 94,500 in 2022, with the 3.3 percent growth being the slowest since 2020.

Agriculture, construction and retail were among those that created the least jobs, contributing just 17 percent of the new jobs, despite their combined share of 37 percent in Kenya’s private sector employment.

“Total new jobs generated in the economy were 848,200 in 2023. In the year under review, wage employment in the modern sector grew by 4.1 percent which translated to 122,800 new jobs in the sector,” the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) notes in the 2024 Economic Survey.

The slow growth in employment was witnessed even as players across different sectors expressed fears that factors such as new taxes and levies had dampened companies' prospects to expand.

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) indicated that about 3.0 percent of formal jobs had been shed in the year to November 2023, even as company executives expressed layoff plans on the back economic challenges.

The latest labour survey showed that unemployment among persons aged 20-24 was the highest at 15.6 percent in 2022 which was a rise from 14.6 percent in 2021.

While other sectors struggled, the Accommodation and food services sector emerged as the most resilient, creating 21,000 additional jobs which accounted for 27.8 percent growth.

Manufacturing sector created 11,000 jobs (3.3percent growth), education created 7,300 new jobs (7.9 percent), ICT 5100 jobs, wholesale and retail 5,000 jobs, and construction 4,100 jobs.

The significant growth in accommodation and food services and a decline in other key sectors such as manufacturing, ICT, finance and insurance, and transport is an indicator of the changing business environment landscape.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)- a survey measuring performance of key economic sectors- rose to 51.8 in May, up from 50.1 in April, an indicator of improvements in the Kenyan private sector.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.