Economic Characteristics

Economic goods and services are produced and supplied to the market through these earning activities. Statistical data on economic activities and of the population, therefore, are essentially required for social and economic development planning.

Type Of Activity

70.2 per cent are employed and 3.2 per cent had jobs but were not at work during the reference period. Only a small proportion, 5.8 per cent are unemployed. The level of the working population (that is the employed and those with job but not at work) ranges from a low of 65.7 per cent in Sunyani to a high of 83.0 per cent in Sene. Apart from Sunyani, three other districts, Asutifi (69.9%), Tano (69.9%), and Berekum (65.9%) have proportions below 70.0 per cent. All the others have proportions about 70.0 per cent.

Among the districts there are significant variations in the proportions unemployed. About half of the 13 districts have proportions unemployed lower than the regional average of 5.8 per cent. Of the rest, Asutifi (9.4%), Berekum (9.2%), and Tano (8.3%) have relatively high levels of unemployment.

The data also show that students form a large proportion of those who are not economically active (8.8%). Higher proportions of students are mainly in Jaman (11.5%), Berekum (10.1%) and Sunyani (11.4%) districts which have high proportions of school age population in school. As expected, Sene (5.4%) and Kintampo (5.8%) have low proportions of students.

The homemaker category constitutes only 5.5 per cent. This is fairly evenly distributed among the districts with the exception of Sunyani, which has a relatively high proportion (8.1%), and Sene with quite a low proportion (3.7%). Age-specific activity rates, present a clear picture of the proportion of economically active population in each age group. Kintampo (53.8%), Atebubu (55%) and Sene (66.4%) have the highest activity rates for the two age groups below 15 years, while Sunyani (15.3%) has the lowest. The high activity rates for the youth in Kintampo, Atebubu and Sene are a reflection of the fact that more than three-fifths of the population in the Sene (63.9%) and Atebubu (60.3%) Districts, and 57.5 per cent in the Kintampo District have never been to school.

Age groups between 30 and 60 years have activity rates over 90.0 per cent in all districts. The activity rate for the population above 75 years and older is between 50.0 and 70.0 per cent, with the highest in the Kintampo District (69.9%) and the lowest in the Sunyani District (50.2%). With the lack of adequate welfare schemes for the aged in the country, apart from social security run by SSNIT, which is patronised by formal sector and a small proportion of informal employees, the aged are compelled to work if there is no support from children or family members.

Old age as a cause of inactivity constitutes an average of 11.2 per cent against a low proportion of 1.9 per cent for the retired. This means there may be many of the aged who are not adequately covered by pension, probably due to their employment status at their working ages and therefore work in their retirement years. The proportion of the persons with disability was higher than the retired in all districts.


Agriculture and related work is the major occupation in all districts, accounting for 66.4 per cent of the region’s economically active population. It is the main occupation for about two-thirds of the economically active group in nine of the 13 districts. In the three most urbanised districts, Sunyani (45.9%) Berekum (50.9%) and Techiman (57.1%), Agriculture and related work account for between 45.0-60.0 per cent. Sene, the most rural district, in particular, has 4 out of 5 economically active population in this sector.

Significant proportions of the economically active persons are engaged as Production, Transport operators and Labourers (11.3%), Sales workers (7.6%), and Professional and related workers (5.8%). 9 out of the 13 districts have proportions of Productive, Transport operators and Labourers above 10.0 per cent. 3 out of the nine, Sunyani (14.9%), Berekum (14.8%) and Kintampo (13.8%) have the highest proportions. The other 4 districts have less than 10.0 per cent.

At the regional level Sales workers form only 7.6 per cent. However, at the district level, Techiman (13.7%), Sunyani (13.4%) and Berekum (11.2%) have relatively high proportions engaged in sales. This is expected as Techiman is the largest market centre in the region. In addition, Sunyani and Berekum are urbanised districts, where sales workers are usually predominant.

Proportions of Professional, Technical and related workers are generally low in most districts but Sunyani (9.0%) and Berekum (8.7%) have relatively high proportions. These same districts also have appreciable proportions of service workers 8.6 and 7.0 per cent respectively.

Analysis of the sex composition by occupation shows that four districts, Techiman, Kintampo, Atebubu, and Sene, recorded more males than females in Agriculture and related work, while all the other districts recorded more females than males, although the differences were small.

Females outnumber males in Service and Sales work in all the districts, and also in Production, Transport and labourer work in all districts, except Kintampo and Asutifi. On the other hand, males are predominant in Professional, Technical and related work in all districts, with only the Kintampo District recording the same proportion for both sexes.

Five working days is the predominant working period in eight districts, with six working days in the remaining five, Nkoranza, Techiman, Kintampo, Atebubu, and Sene. These five districts are all predominantly agricultural and a six-day working week is normal. About one-eight of the active population worked for all the seven days in Berekum (12.1%) and Sunyani (14.3%), the most urbanised districts in the region.

Irrespective of sex and locality of residence, Agriculture and related work absorb the highest proportion of the economically active. Apart from Agriculture and related work, the proportion of urban workforce is higher than the rural workforce in the other occupations and almost equal for administrative and managerial workers.


Changes in structural composition of economically active population often reflect the course of social and economic development; for instance with progress of industrialisation, the proportion of workers in Agriculture decreases while those of workers in Manufacturing, Wholesale, Retail trade, and Service activities increase, implying changes in the main source of livelihood. This further implies that the more urbanised a district is, the lower the proportion of workers in Agriculture, Hunting and Forestry.

More than two thirds (68.6%) of the workforce in all districts are in Agriculture, Hunting, and Forestry, except Sunyani (the most urbanised) (48.0%). Fishing is the second major industry in Sene (21.5%) and Atebubu (8.0%) because of the proximity of these districts to the Volta Lake. The remaining districts have 2.0 per cent or less of the workforce in Fishing.

The manufacturing sector also employs a significant proportion of the workforce in the region (6.7%). Several small-scale businesses engage in manufacturing of garments, leather products, metal fabrication and spare parts, carpentry and joinery, are scattered throughout the region. The concentrations are in Sunyani (the regional capital), Berekum (abounds in wood processing establishments) and Kintampo (fabrication of farm implements, storage containers, donkey carts etc.), where a little over 10 per cent of the workforce is in manufacturing.

Wholesale and retail trade industry employs more than 10.0 per cent of the workforce in only the three most urbanised districts, Sunyani (13.8%), Berekum (11.0 %) and Techiman (15.9%). The reason for Techiman having the highest proportion in the trade industry is that it is one of the major week long markets in Ghana, with the main market days being Tuesday through Friday. It attracts traders from the north and south of the country and even some from neighbouring countries.

Sunyani (the regional capital) has the highest proportion of the workforce engaged in all the rest of the industries. The proportion of females engaged in wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, private household with employed persons, and other community, personal and social service activities are more than that of males in all districts. On the other hand, more males than females work in construction (which is mostly considered a masculine job), financial intermediation, and public administration, defence, and education industries, in all districts.

Employment Status

In the more industrialised countries or communities, the proportion of employees is higher relative to the self-employed, but in agricultural countries, the proportions of self-employed without employees (own account workers) and unpaid family workers are usually higher. As such the distribution of the workforce by employment status is often used as an indicator of progress in the modernization of employment and the economy. It also measures the relative capacity of the various sectors of the economy to create jobs.

There are significant differences between the national and regional proportions of employees and self-employed without employees. At the national level, 15.2 per cent of the economically active are employees compared to 9.7 per cent at the regional level. In contrast, the proportion self-employed without employees (74.6%) for the region is relatively higher than the national proportion of 67.5 per cent.

The majority of the economically active population are self-employed without employees. They are engaged in small-scale economic enterprises operated by individuals. Many people are also peasant farmers engaged in subsistence level agriculture, the main occupation of the workforce. Many of the self-employed are not registered and have a very low capital base. This makes tax deduction at source, which is the easiest way of collecting tax, difficult if not impossible.

It also poses a challenge to the effective disbursement and retrieval of loans and other financial assistance to these people for investment and expansion of their businesses. With so many individuals engaged in such enterprises, there is a resultant loss of capability to create employment.

Only four districts (Sunyani 20.3%, Asunafo 16.3%, Berekum 13.3% and Asutifi 10.3%) have more than 10.0 per cent of the workforce as employees. Some of the reasons for this feature are that timber logging and wood processing are operated on large scale in Asutifi, Asunafo and Berekum. Sunyani, the administrative capital of the region, has the largest number of public and private formal institutions, which are avenues for public employment.

Kintampo, Atebubu, and Sene Districts have proportions of employees lower than the regional average but higher proportions of unpaid family workers. These are mainly rural agrarian districts with large proportions of farmers and artisinal fishermen and fish processors. There are no significant differences in the inter-district proportions in self-employed (with employees), apprentices (except Berekum), and domestic employees.

Employment Sector

The private informal sector provides employment to about four out of every five members of the workforce in the region, with seven districts having proportions exceeding the regional average (83.0%). Sene District has the highest (90.9%), followed by the Atebubu District (90.3%) with the Sunyani District having the lowest (73.3%). Sunyani, as the regional and district capital, with several Government and quasi government organisations, has the most significant proportion of public sector employees (11.3%) while Sene has the least (2.2%).

The private formal sector is relatively small, with its impact (in terms of employment) most recognised in Asutifi (15.8%), Sunyani (14.2%) and Berekum (15.8%), with the least in Atebubu (6.1%). Semi-public/parastatals, as a source of employment, are relatively insignificant in all districts. However, both Berekum and Asutifi have private wood processing companies and NGOs that employ large numbers of people.



Date Created : 11/28/2017 7:56:03 AM