Durban’s unemployment rate up in the fourth quarter
Durban - The unemployment rate in KwaZulu Natal rose sharply from 14% in the third quarter of 2020 to 20.5% in the fourth quarter, which translated to 115 000 more people looking for work.
This is based on information from Statistics SA and the KZN Department of Employment and Labour collated by the eThekwini Municipality.
The municipality said that the figures were drastic and it suggested that Durban residents were now more determined to find work.
“However, the hope of finding work does not appear to be met by enough job opportunities – only 49 000 more people found jobs last quarter. For every 1 person who found a job last quarter, 2.4 more people were left looking for work,” the municipality said.
Nonetheless, the chances of finding a job have risen slightly as the employment absorption rate has increased from 42.6% to 44.6%, said the municipality.
“Almost all 164 000 people who joined the labour market last quarter were previously not economically active (for example, students, home-makers) while nationally, 69% of all the newly unemployed people were youth under the age of 35,” the municipality said.
The statistics come a week after learning that South Africa’s unemployment rate increased by 1.7% to 32.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to 30.8% in the previous quarter.
United Association of South Africa (Uasa) spokesperson Abigail Moyo said Uasa called on the government to step in with practical solutions that will help remedy the unemployment woes.
“Something like the government ensuring an environment that is conducive to attract investment, and that will only be achieved by prioritising key infrastructure development and maintenance programmes, such as reliable and cost-effective energy supply.
“Statistics show that about 69% of unemployed people are youth under the age of 35, isn’t it about time that the government take youth development into serious consideration and have investments going into creating jobs that support the skills developed by young people across our metropolitans?” asked Moyo.
Institute for Advancing Worker Justice and Legacy executive director Songezo Mazizi said Durban’s statistics were shocking but not surprising and the unemployment rate in the country generally has seen a serious hike in the last quarter.
Mazizi said government programmes like the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative did not come close to dealing with the problem.
“It is much more clear now than any other time that the private sector must be forced to play their part. The investment boycott we have experienced over the years must end. While this is done, the government must initiate a basic unemployment grant of R5 000 so the currently unemployed do not go to bed hungry and can sustain the costs that come with looking for a job,” said Mazizi.
Youth Employment Service (YES) chief executive Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville said the biggest problem South Africa had was that not enough people were contributing to the fiscus and there was a vast inequality gap.
“If we are going to grow our gross domestic product and transform our economy, we have to first grow jobs for our youth – and the best way of doing this is by creating new pathways to employment opportunities.”
Ismail-Saville added that to address the crisis, more creative policies and programmes like YES, which actively create pathways for youth to work, would need to be built. More of the same would see a further deepening of the crisis.