Unemployment Rate in Ghana: Minister’s Claim Completely False

At the recent Meet the Press organized by the Ministry of Information on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, made some claims about Ghana’s unemployment rate.

According to the minister who was reporting on the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the job sector and the economy, Ghana’s employment rate dropped from 11.9 % to 8.4% in 2018.

Although the minister was basing his facts on the Ghana Living Standards Survey 6 and 7 (GLSS 6 and GLSS 7) by the Ghana Statistical Services, Fact-check Ghana has found his claim to be false.

Claim: “The Ghana Statistical Services in the latter part of 2015 conducted the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS 6) which had as one of its focus the issues of unemployment and they reported that unemployment rate was 11.9%.  In 2018, a similar survey was conducted and they reported that unemployment dropped from 11.9% to 8.4%”. ( Time 15.03 -17.18).

Verdict: False

Explanation: The Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) is an initiative by the Ghana Statistical Service that provides information for understanding and monitoring living conditions in Ghana. The survey presents data on demographic characteristics of Ghanaian households, education, health, employment, migration & remittances, information communication and technology (ICT), tourism, housing, household agriculture, non-farm household enterprises, financial services, anthropometry and assets.

The GLSS 6 and GLSS 7 were released in 2014 and 2019 respectively. They are the two main documents on which the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations’ arguments are based. However, according to the GLSS 6, Ghana’s unemployment rate in 2015 was 5.2%. The document clearly states that “the unemployment rate for persons aged 15 years and older is 5.2 percent; the rate is higher for females (5.5%) than for males (4.8%).”

The table below provides details of the 2015 unemployment situation in Ghana as presented in GLSS 6.

Further, the minister goes on to say that the unemployment rate decreased from 11.9% in 2015 to 8.4% in 2018. While the 2018 figure is right according to GLSS 7, the minister’s claim is still false. Going by the two datasets the minister referred to, the only indication is that unemployment rate rather increased from 5.2% since GLSS 6 to 8.4% in GLSS 7.


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