Cape Town - The unemployment rate has remained “stubborn” in recent years and is unlikely to improve in the short-term, the department of labour said on Thursday.
“The quality of jobs had deteriorated and the type of jobs created by the economy (are temporary) and not sustainable,” departmental spokesman Page Boikanyo said in a statement summarising the findings of the Annual Labour Market Bulletin for the financial year of 2012/2013.
“According to the report there is a sign that the South African labour market situation may not improve soon to the level of before the economic crisis of 2008.”
The economy's growth had been slow in the period under review and was influenced by a fragile global economic recovery and rand volatility.
Factors contributing to this volatility were the spread of labour unrest and strikes in the mining sector, the downgrading of the country's sovereign ratings, the release of economic data showing a rising trade deficit, and a renewed rise in inflation.
Despite the challenging economic climate and operating conditions, the report noted growth in some sectors in 2012.
Jobs in the mining sector increased by 19,890 in 2012 compared to the year before that, in spite of disruptive labour action.
Employment in the agriculture sector increased by 40,000 from 2011 to 2012.
In the same period, manufacturing saw a marginal decline of 2524 jobs.
The report noted that prolonged labour market under-performance led to long-term unemployment and many workers could become excluded from the market.
This would result in young people being at risk of remaining unemployed or inactive for the rest of their lives.
“Well-designed active labour market programmes that are aimed at making sure that young people are not trapped in precarious jobs could play an instrumental role in promoting job recovery.”
The report cautioned that social unrest and confidence in the government would be eroded if the state did not effectively implement and monitor policies aimed at reducing youth unemployment.
According to data from the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), an average of 79 percent of its cases in the last three years were for unfair dismissal.
“One profound lesson the CCMA has taken from Marikana is that the dream of collective bargaining structures, its voluntarism system and the manner in which collective bargaining is conducted, no longer meets the aspirations of the lowest-paid workers,” the report stated.
Boikanyo said the report emphasised the importance of remaining focused on the goal of achieving faster and more sustainable economic growth.
The creation of decent jobs, particularly for young and low-skilled people, was also key.
“Training of the unemployed should continue through the department's initiatives in collaboration with various government training institutions.” - Sapa