The county has 902,848 persons who are wage earners representing 51.6 per cent of the total households income in the county. These people are either skilled or unskilled and most of them are employed in coffee plantations, tea farms, industries, quarry sites and other agricultural farms. In order to ensure the county‘s economy remains vibrant there is need for expansion of the job market to ensure great percentage of the population becomes wage earners.
Due to dwindling availability of formal jobs in the county, most of the people have reverted to self employment which contributes to 31 per cent of households‘ income in the county. In rural areas, 157,473 persons are self employed whereby they engage in agricultural activities for their livelihoods. On the other hand 384,935 of the persons in urban centres are self employed, having set up businesses and small scale industries.
The labour force in the county was 961,261 people in 2009, which comprised of 475,149 males and 486,112 females translating to 59.2 percent of the population. It was projected to rise to 1,036,128 in 2012, 1,116,826 in 2015 and 1,174,087 people at the end of 2017.
With the steady growth of the labour force, there will be a major challenge of creating employment opportunities in the county.
The county‘s labour force comprises of 59.2 percent of the total population. Due to high rate of population growth estimated at 2.81 per cent, the labour force is growing rapidly, while existing resources remain the same. Unemployment rate is high with 17 percent of the population unemployed. There is need to revive the collapsed industries such as dairy and establish new ones to provide job opportunities to the growing labour force majority of whom are unemployed.