Upcoming Employment Figures, Rebased GDP and Trade Statistics

IN my first article of this series I informed you about the purpose of the Namibia Statistics Agency. I highlighted that we concentrate on economic statistics, as well as demographic and social statistics. During this week the latest unemployment figures as well as rebased national accounts will be released to the nation. This is because Namibia shall from now on produce labour market figures on an annual basis instead of after every four years. This was a decision taken by Cabinet with the view of disseminating relevant, quality and timely labour statistics that are fit for purpose. This week will also see the NSA release rebased national accounts and trade statistics.

Let us start with the labour market statistics though. As we might be all aware there is always a huge interest and debate about unemployment (employment) figures once released. This is due to the fact that this information tells us how the labour market performed over a certain period, in this specific case, the last twelve months. The majority of our people know the Labour Force Survey only as the statistics that tell us how many people are unemployed. However, there is much more to the Labour Force Survey than counting those that are employed or unemployed. The Labour Force Survey provides us with a clear picture of the status of the economically active and the economically inactive population.

The economically inactive persons are those below the age of 15 years and all persons older than 64 years. This also includes all those that are between 15-64 years of age, but are not available for work because they are either students, homemakers, disabled, ill or are on early retirement. The economically active category are those within the working age group of 15 and above with the exception of those that are classified as economically inactive. It is from this economically active category where an estimate of the unemployment rate is derived. The Labour Force Survey also tells us about the characteristics of the employed population, in which industries they are employed, what their educational level is, how many hours they work and what their remuneration is. In the same vein, the Labour Force Survey also provides us with the characteristics of the unemployed.

Specifically, it informs us in what age category they are, where they stay and what their educational level is. This type of information is used as evidence for understanding our labour market, as well as policy formulation and design. This week the latest labour market information will be available. The NSA shall also be releasing the national accounts this week. The national accounts give us an estimate on how our economy performed. This time around we shall release re-based national accounts.

This practically means we are replacing the old base year used for compiling the constant price estimates to a new and more recent base year. In this case we are changing the base year from 2004 to 2010. National accounts are rebased because price structures change over time and the exercise enables a comprehensive measurement of the economy’s latest developments. Therefore, rebasing of the national accounts serves to provide a more accurate reflection of the current situation of the economy. Hence, if you want to know what our latest unemployment rate, economic growth and import and export statistics are, then keep your eye on the NSA for this week.

This column will appear on a bi-monthly basis and aims to bring the NSA and statistics closer to the people. Written by Staff Reporter

Source : New Era