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Youth unemployment soars to 36%

Economy

Cape Town - Unemployment among young South Africans rose significantly over the past six years, Statistics SA said on Thursday.

“The unemployment rate among youth (aged 15 to 34) increased from 32.7 percent to 36.1 percent between 2008 and 2014,” according to the latest Stats SA report on national and provincial labour market trends among the youth.

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Youths participate in a march for peace at the close of the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pretoria, Tuesday, 21 December 2010. Picture: SAPA stringer

Since the 2008 recession, the youth unemployment rate has been consistently higher than that of adults, by more than 20 percentage points.

While young adults made up between 52 to 64 percent of the working population, they accounted for only 42 to 49 percent of the employed.

“The youngest working age populations are found in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal,” the report said.

“The employment share of youth declined by the largest amount in Gauteng (down 6.2 percentage points) and the Western Cape (down 5.6 percentage points).”

The report listed a variety of problems facing young people in the labour market. They included that many had not worked before, and a high incidence of long-term youth unemployment.

“In 2014, close to two-thirds of young people were unemployed for a year or longer, while young people accounted for 90 percent of those who are unemployed and have never worked before.” - Sapa

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