Employment Situation: Are These Comparisons Accurate?

This tweet claims that Kenya’s unemployment rate is at 5.5% while that in the US is at 5.7%.


Data on Kenya’s unemployment rate has been mentioned quite a number especially during the campaigns. The most outstanding numbers were that Kenya has “4 million of our young people out of school, out of college, out of university have no jobs,” stated by President William Ruto during his Chatham House Speech. Later, he stated that the country has, “Five million young people who are not working. “His deputy, Rigathi Gachagua on the other hand had this value at, “Six million youths who are not working.”

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) defines unemployment or unemployed as an individual who is not working, is seeking work and is available to work. United States’ Bureau of Labour Statistics classifies an individual as being unemployed when they don’t have a job but have actively been looking for a job and are available to work. 

Actively looking for a job in this case refers to; contacting an employer directly or having an interview, a public or private agency, friends or relatives, placing and answering job advertisements, among other means of active job searching.


Since both nations have similar definitions of what being unemployed means, the latest data from the Bureau Labour of Statistics shows that, the US was at 3.7% according to an August 2022 report, with the total number of unemployed individuals being six million. This data definitely excludes individuals who want a job but are not actively seeking jobs.

In the first quarter of 2021 year, the unemployment rate was 6.6%. The highest rate experienced compared to the previous year. This is the general unemployment rate of Kenya’s labour force among people between 15 and 64 years of age.


Claims that the United States unemployment rate is at 5.7% which compares to that of Kenya apparently at 5.5% are NOT accurate.

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