Business News of Monday, 25 February 2013

Source: B&FT

Statistical Service directed to produce labour figures

President John Dramani Mahama has directed the Ghana Statistical Service to produce quarterly labour surveys to inform policy and planning formulations in the country.

The survey is expected to create an accurate database of the unemployed among all categories of the nation’s society.

This will ensure that new jobs are accurately recorded and tracked while making it possible to coordinate the various job-creation and employment initiatives.

President Mahama made this known at his first State of the Nation Address to law-makers, under the theme “Advancing the Better Ghana: Opportunities for Growth”.

This directive has come at a period when the Ghana Statistical Service has announced it is to publish figures on the rate of unemployment in the country, calculated from data collected during the 2010 population census.

Head of economic statistics at the Service, Magnus Ebo Duncan, said the official statistics agency will also provide data on the distribution of jobs in the economy.

“The tables have been generated, and very soon we will publish the analysis that we have done from the census in a book. In the full analysis that we will bring, you will see the unemployment rate there,” he said.

“The move will give policymakers some insight into the extent of unemployment in the country, but more detailed characteristics of the problem will be presented after the Service has completed a labour force survey it plans to undertake this year.

“The preparatory work has been done, so now we have to do the training of the interviewers and then we will go to the field,” Mr. Duncan said.

Chronic joblessness is the biggest weakness of Ghana’s fast-growing economy. What compounds the problem is that there are no updated data on the jobless rate and the characteristics of the unemployed in the country.

One gets a notion of the problem’s pervasiveness from the huge numbers of youth that line the streets “selling things nobody will buy”.

Unemployment is also rife among university graduates, with more than half of the graduates who leave the country’s universities not finding a job two years after their national service --and one-fifth are without a job for a third year.