Gambia Labor Force Report says 38.6% of Gambian youths are unemployed

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Nyakassi Sanyang, Statisian General, GBoS

A new report, the Gambia labor force survey report, has revealed that 38.6 percent of the country’s youth are unemployed, exposing the rising fears of a lack of employment opportunities in the Gambia. 

The survey report also revealed a higher unemployment rate among the female population than their male counterparts, most of who reside in the Kanifing Municipal Council and Banjul City Council.

The Government of The Gambia conducted the survey with development partners and other key stakeholders to produce official national statistics on the labor force, employment, and unemployment for monitoring and planning purposes.

The Labour force survey is the primary source behind headline indicators of the labor market for short-term monitoring and more structural information on the number and characteristics of the employed, their jobs and working conditions, and the job search activities of those without work, among others.

“The combined unemployment rate and potential labor force reach 38.6 percent. Furthermore, almost half of the youths are underutilized (LU4), at 48.6 percent against 30.6 percent among adults. On average, six in ten youth work as self-employed and mainly engage in informal employment (84.0%),” Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), which surveyed on behalf of the government, said at the release of the report in Banjul.

“Similar to the adult population, some gender disparities persist; young women are worse off than young males. Moreover, the survey reveals that 45.3 percent of the youth are neither employed nor in education or training.”

The Survey Report also highlighted that the combined rate of unemployment and potential labor force has now reached 31.6 percent of the population, hinting that the population outside of the labor force has also reached (56.4%) of the population, primely composed of persons who are only studying (13.2%) or engaged in subsistence farming (5.3%), discouraged jobseekers (6.7%) or persons in other situation retired, homemakers, and physically challenge disabled (31.2 percent).

The report revealed that most of the labor force are females comprising (55.5% compared to 47% of males), noting that the youth represent 70.5 percent while their share is 56.1 percent among the labor force.

“On average, persons with disabilities represent 4.3 percent of the working-age population, but this proportion reaches 22.3 percent for those aged 60 years and over. The survey finds lower participation of disabled in the labor force (32.8%) than that of persons without disabilities (44.1%), which can be partly because they are older and may have reached retirement age,” GBoS said.

“Labour underutilization indicators show the same trend, the unemployment rate of persons with disability (SDG) indicator 8.5.2) stands at 7.2 percent, a rate close to that of persons without disabilities.”

Officials of The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) disclosed that the key findings of the survey include unemployment rate, labor underutilization, women and youth under the labor market, labor force participation rate, and employment to population ratio, among others, adding that the survey will be used in the evidence-based decision making and planning and monitoring processes.

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