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Unemployment at all-time high of 34.9% has SA concerned

The Statistician-General of South Africa Risenga Maluleke. Picture: GCIS

The Statistician-General of South Africa Risenga Maluleke. Picture: GCIS

Published Dec 1, 2021


Pretoria - South Africans have expressed serious concerns and fears for the future of the country after Statistics SA revealed that the official unemployment rate had increased to 34.9% between the second and third quarter of 2021.

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke yesterday said the rate was a 0.5% increase from 34.4% in the second quarter of the year. This meant that South Africa had experienced the highest unemployment rate since the start of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2008.

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Maluleke said the survey showed that the number of employed persons had decreased by 660 000 in the third quarter of 2021 to 14.3 million people.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed persons also decreased by 183 000 to 7.6 million compared to the second quarter.

He said the number of discouraged work-seekers also increased by 545 000 (16.4%), while the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 443 000 (3.3%). This resulted in a net increase of 988 000 in the not economically active population.

Maluleke said the unemployment rate, according to the expanded definition of unemployment, increased by 2.2% to 46.6% in quarter three of 2021 compared to quarter two.

“The results indicate that the South African labour market is more favourable to men than It is for women. The proportion of men in employment is higher than that of women. More men than women are participating in the labour market as the labour force participation rate of men is higher than that of women and the unemployment rate among men is lower than among women.

“The unemployment rate among women was 37.3% in the third quarter compared to 32.9% among men, according to the official definition of unemployment.

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“The official unemployment rate among black African women was 41.5% during this period compared to 9.9% among white women, 25.2% among Indian/Asian women, and 29.1% among coloured women.”

The survey found that employment decreased by 571 000 (5.6%) in the formal sector, by 65 000 (5.4%) in private households and by 32 000 (3.8%) in agriculture in the third quarter compared to the second quarter.

Informal sector employment increased by 9 000 (0.3%) in the same period.

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“All industries experienced job losses between the second and third quarters of 2021, except the finance industry which gained 138 000 jobs.

The largest employment decrease was observed in trade (309 000), followed by community and social services (210 000),” said Maluleke.

The survey also noted employment decreases in the three largest provinces in the country – Gauteng (-200 092), KwaZulu-Natal (-123 410) and Western Cape (-30 956).

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Maluleke said about 3.4 million (33.5%) out of 10.2 million young people aged 15 to 24 were not in employment, education or training.

Pretoria News