Kenya National Bureau of Statistics

Only one in 10 of the jobs created was in the public sector, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reported yesterday. Earnings failed to keep up with the rising cost of living as measured by inflation, meaning the average Kenyan worker could hardly afford the lifestyle enjoyed in 2013.

?Real average earnings increased by 0.5 per cent to Sh370,340.30 per annum during the period under review,? KNBS said.

That places the average monthly salary at Sh30,869 for people employed in the formal sector. Wages rose by 7.9 per cent across the private and public sectors, against an inflation of 6.9 per cent. Food and transport costs rose the fastest to hit households where it hurt most, budgets. Most of the new jobs are people involved in self- employment.

The number of new jobs and average earnings are significant pointers to social and economic development, which provide an important gauge against which the success of governments across the world are rated by their citizens. In Kenya, the soaring un employment rate is among the key platforms that President Uhuru Kenyatta was elected to office to tackle.

Though no formal records exist on the specific rates, various agencies have estimated Kenya?s un employment at anywhere around 40 per cent. But a population explosion has ensured that more people enter the job market every year than the number of jobs the economy can create.

While the last census was conducted six years ago, KNBS estimated in its report that Kenya?s population had hit 43 million by December, five million more than the 38.5 million reported in 2010. New mining activity in Kwale?s titanium fields accounted for the highest growth, proportionally, with over 3,500 jobs created in the quarrying sector.

Agriculture, Kenya?s most important pillar, was hit by bad weather leading to a three per cent decline in the number of people it employs. KNBS said 290,600 people worked in the sector last year. And 1.6 million people were employed in the formal segment of the private sector, out of which 60,000 were new jobs.

By Moses Michira, The Standard

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