Rwanda Labour Force Survey, 2017

In 2016, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Services and Labour introduced the Labour Force Survey (LFS) in Rwanda. The survey is designed to provide stakeholders with bi-annual estimates of the main labour market indicators.


The 19th International Labor Organization Conference of Labor Statisticians that was held in Geneva, October 2013 resolved on new standards and definitions regarding statistics of work, employment and labor underutilization. This replaced previous standards and definitions of the 13th conference that was held in 1982.

The main change concerns the definition of employment.

The new international standards recognize work and employment differently. For example work for own-use production, mainly subsistence agricultural is not considered as employment but rather work. This excludes subsistence farmers from employment hence increasing the unemployment rate.

Specifically, persons in employment are those aged 16 and above who are engaged in any activity to produce goods or provide services in exchange for pay or profit.

The advantage of separating employment and own-use production (mainly subsistence agricultural) is that it allows proper assessment that allow adequate measures of promoting productive and descent work to be implemented.  

Key Indicators

The labour force survey was designed in a way that allows the computation of key labour market indicators using both new and old definitions of employment. 

Because of the new definition, as of February 2017:

- Unemployment was 4.5%  under the previous definition and  16.7% under the new one

- Youth unemployment rate was 7.1%  but under the new definition it was 21% 

- Percentage working in Agriculture was 68% under the old definition and  45.9% under the new one

The full report can be downloaded from NISR website: www.statistics.gov.rw.

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