11/02/2014. Stats General Pali Lehohla talks about the quarterly labour force survey during a press conference. Picture: Masi Losi

If you are a young person who has not passed matric or does not have any work experience, the chances of your finding a job are slim.

This is according to new employment data released by Statistics SA for last year.

Statistician-General Pali Lehohla announced yesterday that unemployment was at 24.1 percent and employment increased by 653 000 – the largest year-on-year gain since the recession.

Gains in employment in the formal sector stood at 507 000, and in the informal sector 95 000.

The agricultural sector shed 27 000 jobs, private households shed 20 000 and the finance sector 20 000 jobs. The highest job gains were in community and social services, with 97 000 more posts, and 59 000 in construction.

The lowest gains were in mining, with 4 000 more in jobs.

The data showed that South Africa had a working age population of 35 million. Of this number, 4.8 million people aged between 15 and 64 do not have jobs.

An additional 15 million people were not looking for work or not available for work. The figure was made up of 2.2 million discouraged job seekers; 6.2 million students; 1.7 million sick or disabled people; and 2.9 million homemakers.

But the situation was particularly dire for the youth.

Although the unemployment rate among the youth declined by 1.6 percent, or 38 000, 3.2 million youths remained unemployed. They were aged between 15 and 34 years. In the same age group, 6.2 million – 351 000 more – were employed, while 10 million – 88 000 more – did not have jobs.

“The burden of unemployment affects the youth more, especially those who are not educated. In the 18 to 29 age group the statistics are even more difficult,” Lehohla said. “Education is important and having work experience is important. This is where small firms can come in to ease the situation.”

In the 18 to 29 age group, 2.4 million people are unemployed, close to 60 percent do not have matric and 1.6 million have been unemployed for a long time.

Statistics indicate that if a young person has a tertiary qualification, they are more likely to find a job than one who does not have matric.

Young people are also 2.2 times more likely to find a job after a short period of unemployment than after long-term unemployment.

The Adcorp Employment Index released this week says retrenchments are at a 10-year high. The index shows the country shed 36 290 jobs last month, most of them in manufacturing and construction.

Lehohla said Adcorp did not collect the data and cautioned against the acceptance of data that had not been verified. “The methods are not transparent and it is interesting the media are giving them space. The methodology used is important.” - Pretoria News


- The highest employment gains were in the Western Cape (98 000), Eastern Cape (38 000) and North West (17 000) in the fourth quarter of last year.

- KwaZulu-Natal was the only province that experienced job losses (42 000) in the fourth quarter of last year.

- The Free State has the highest official unemployment rate (33 percent) and Limpopo has the lowest official unemployment rate (16.9 percent).

- Employees on a contract of limited duration increased by 127 000 and unspecified duration by 7 000.

- Of the jobs created, 40.6 percent were in firms with fewer than 10 people.

- North West had the largest proportion of economically inactive youth, 37 percent, and Limpopo had the least, 25.9 percent.

- The number of unemployed men increased by 71 000 and unemployed women by 49 000.

- Salary increments were determined by employers alone for 53.8 percent of those who had jobs.

- Pay rises were negotiated by unions for 22.1 percent of employees, while 9.9 percent negotiated their own.