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Briefing paper

BP135: The employment status of Zambians: Official definitions versus citizen perceptions

17 Apr 2015
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This briefing paper focuses on unemployment in Zambia. Drawing on official statistics and data from the latest Afrobarometer survey (2013), the paper begins by clarifying the concept of unemployment in as far as it is used in Zambia. It then presents the official status of unemployment as measured by the Labor Force Survey. This metric of unemployment is contrasted with perceptions of Zambians on their employment status measured by the Afrobarometer survey. Finally, the results of the Afrobarometer survey are explored by examining the relationship between employment status and demographic characteristics, such as age and urban-rural location, and poverty level. An important finding is that official definitions of employment/unemployment do not reveal the true extent of unemployment, particularly if one is interested in the participation in the labor force.