Unemployment in South Africa hit new record levels in the third quarter of 2021 as it remained elevated mainly due to economic destruction caused by the July civil unrest.
Data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) today showed that the rate of unemployment increased by 0.5 percentage points in the three months to September to reach 34.9 percent, up from 34.4 percent in the second quarter.
This is the highest unemployment rate in the country since 2008, showing that many jobs were lost when businesses were looted and torched during the unrest.
According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), Stats SA said that at least 660,000 people lost their jobs in the third quarter compared with the second quarter to 14.3 million.
Stats SA said the number of unemployed persons also decreased by 183,000 to 7.6 million compared to the second quarter.
The number of discouraged work seekers, however, increased by 545,000, or 16.4 percent, and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 443,000, or 3.3 percent, between the two quarters.
This resulted in a net increase of 988,000 in the not economically active population.
Stats SA said all industries experienced job losses between the second and third quarters of 2021 except the finance industry, which gained 138,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment thus rose by 2.2 percentage points to 46.6 percent in the third quarter compared with the second quarter.
Stats SA said the unemployment rate among women rose to 37.3 percent in the third quarter compared with 32.9 percent among men, according to the official definition of unemployment.
In terms of race, the official unemployment rate among black African women was 41.5 percent during this period compared with 9.9 percent among white women, 25.2 percent among Indian/Asian women and 29.1 percent among coloured women.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE