JUST IN: SA’s official unemployment rate drops – again

Almost 400,000 South Africans found jobs in the third quarter of this year. Picture: Mikhail Nilov

Almost 400,000 South Africans found jobs in the third quarter of this year. Picture: Mikhail Nilov

Published Nov 14, 2023


Almost 400,000 South Africans found jobs in Q3 of this year, bringing the total number of employed persons in the country up to 16,7 million.

In this July to September period, 7,8 million people were recorded as being unemployed, a decrease of 72,000, reveals Stats SA’s latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released on Tuesday.

In addition, the number of people who were not economically active – despite being aged 15 to 64 and willing and able to work, decreased by 186,000; those who were not working for reasons other than being discouraged dropped by 160,000, while those who had, in the previous quarter, been trying to find work but were unsuccessful, decreased by 26,000.

South Africa’s official unemployment rate now stands at 31.9 percent, which is 0.7 percent lower than the rate in Q2 2023. From Q2 to Q3 2023, 399,000 people gained employment.

The official unemployment rate refers to economically active people who:

– were not employed in the reference week

– actively looked for work or tried to start a business in the four weeks preceding the survey interview

– were available for work, as in would have been able to start work or a business in the reference week

– had not actively looked for work in the past four weeks, but had a job or business to start at a definite date in the future, and were available.

While this is the third consecutive decrease in unemployment in the third quarter since the Covid-19 national lockdown in 2020, Stats SA notes that, prior to the lockdown, unemployment had always fluctuated in the third quarter of each year since the inception of the survey.

On a less positive note though, the unemployment rate according to the expanded definition – which includes those who are either discouraged job-seekers or have other reasons for not searching, stands at 41.2 percent. Still, this is a decrease of 0.9 percent from Q2 2023.

A breakdown of the unemployment figures of those who are able to work shows that:

– 38 percent are students

– 19.4 percent are discouraged job seekers

– 14,7 percent are stay-at-home adults

– 10.4 percent are either too old or too young to work

– 10.1 percent have illnesses or disabilities that prevent them from working

– 7.4 percent have other reasons for not working

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