Cape Town - Parliament’s portfolio committee chairperson on employment and labour, Lindelwa Dunjwa, is concerned about the number of graduates who remain unemployed.
Statistics SA, in a presentation to the committee on the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on employment during the second quarter, on Wednesday said that approximately 3.4 million out of 10.2 million young people aged 15 to 24 years were not in employment, education or training.
“There has been a cry in this country that people are not employed. At the same time, the department is being accused of not taking the issue of unemployment seriously. Graduates are languishing in the streets in South Africa,” Dunjwa said.
The number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed continues to rise in the country, with StatsSA saying the unemployment rate now stands at 34.4%.
The province with the highest number of unemployed individuals is the Eastern Cape, with 53% for the quarter under review.
This is followed by the Northern Cape at 50.3%, and Limpopo at 49.9%.
StatsSA acting deputy director-general Nozipho Tshabalala said the second quarter saw an increase of 1.8% in jobless people, compared with the first quarter.
Results of the labour force participation showed that there were increases in both unemployed and discouraged work seekers, while 584 000 more people became unemployed.
The finance sector saw an employment loss of 278 000 jobs, community and social services dropped by 166 000 and manufacturing employment decreased by 83 000.
Unemployment figures increased from 7.2 million in the first quarter of this year to 7.8 million in the second quarter, while discouraged job seekers increased by 186 000, Tshabalala said.
The chief director of labour statistics at StatsSA, Malerato Mosiane, said the unemployment rate among the black African population group stood at 38.2%, and remained higher than the national average and other population groups from 36.7% in the first quarter.
“Black African women are the most vulnerable, with an unemployment rate of 41.0% in quarter two,” Mosiane said.
Tshabalala said restrictions related to Covid-19 created an obstacle to collecting data and operations. StatsSA resorted to collecting data via computer-assisted telephone interviewing.
In response to a question from the DA’s Michael Cardo on the accuracy of the data presented, Tshabalala emphasised that despite the challenges to retrieve data for the figures due to the pandemic, the institution remained confident in the data collected.
“There is no impact on the number which we have produced. Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke has emphasised in various forums that we will be the first ones to indicate when we cannot release a report because of the quality and shortage of resources.
“We are confident with the numbers we are producing as the reports go through rigorous quality assurance processes,” Tshabalala said.