A new report by the National Institute of Statistics (NISR) shows that all jobs lost when the COVID-19 emerged, have returned – and actually more jobs have been created.
Cabinet imposed a total lockdown of the country on March 15 to control spread of the virus. Over the months, the devastating impact is becoming ever more clearer.
Government data shows that as of February, 3,568,934 people were employed in different sectors of the economy.
In the survey data for April, it shows that those employed had dropped by 1,451,518 – or a 40.6 percent drop.
As of the end of August, not many sectors of the economy had reopened. Schools remained closed and teachers in private schools have not been paid since March. Bars and showbiz sector are still closed. Transport sector was required to operate at 50% capacity until last week.
All markets and private or public offices were required to have very few people at all times.
But then, the Institute of Statistics data released today shows that as of end of August, the economy had added an additional 98,677 jobs on to the number before COVID-19 lockdown.
In other words, the data tells us that all the jobs lost when COVID-19 struck, were gotten back, and the economy actually attained new jobs.
The government figures indicate that jobs gains were recorded in manufacturing, mining and quarrying, construction, as well as vehicle repairs (garages).
Real estate sector gained more than 8,000 jobs, perhaps reflecting the ongoing $200m World Bank project to construct 22,000 classrooms all over Rwanda. The project has to be completed by year end.
Important to note is that even if the general number shows job gains, the government data also shows that some sectors did not witness the gain. Many people are still unemployed after losing their jobs back in March.
There pain is still being experienced in the creative arts and entertainment, teachers in private schools and high institutions, bars and hospitality, as well as agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
The borders are also still closed, meaning all communities along the border can no longer engage in the cross border economic activities that sustained them before COVID-19.