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South Africa’s unemployment rate rises to 32.9%



unemployment rate has reached 32.9%

The new report by Statistics South Africa has spotlighted a concerning development in the country’s employment landscape. Microsoft Start reported that the data shows that the unemployment rate has reached 32.9%, indicating a significant increase from the previous quarter’s rate of 32.7%. This rise also comes from an economic contraction of 1.3%.

Despite the positive surge in the number of individuals finding employment, with 258,000 people finding work in the first three months of 2023, the unemployment rate continues to climb. This can be because of a considerable influx of individuals transitioning from the “not economically active” category.

Stats SA’s analysis highlights the movement of a substantial number of people from the “not economically active” category to both “employed” and “unemployed” statuses. This shift has contributed to a 0.2 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, resulting in % a current figure of 32.9%.

The persisting power crisis caused by load shedding has further compounded the economic challenges faced by the nation. This situation, commonly referred to as stagflation among experts, not only hampers economic growth but also adversely affects employment levels, exacerbating inflationary pressures. Moreover, with the unemployment rate nearing the distressing threshold of 33%, it continues to be a grave concern, particularly affecting vulnerable sectors such as domestic workers and gardeners.

Also read: Gauteng Residents Suffer from High Levels of Unemployment in the Millions


During the first quarter of 2023, specific sectors experienced positive employment trends. The formal sector had an increase of 209,000 jobs, while the informal sector saw a rise of 107,000. Additionally, the agricultural sector added 27,000 jobs. However, there was a notable decline in employment within private households, reducing 85,000 jobs.

The decline in job opportunities within private households accounted for a significant 7.5% decrease compared to the previous quarter. This trend may indicate middle-class families facing financial constraints and reducing their reliance on domestic services. However, it could also be attributed to emigration, as individuals leaving the country cannot take their domestic workers and gardeners along.

Another alarming concern is the escalating youth unemployment rate, which has reached a staggering 62.1%. Furthermore, the expanded definition of unemployment, which incorporates discouraged jobseekers, remains unacceptably high at 42.4% for the quarter, despite experiencing a marginal decline of 0.2 percentage points.

Experts, including Casey Delport from Anchor Capital, have shed light on the structural challenges prevailing within the local economy. These hindrances make it increasingly challenging to reintroduce discouraged job seekers into the workforce, exacerbating unemployment.

The persistent upward trend in long-term unemployment over the past decade is concerning. The rate has surged from 65.5% in Q1 2013 to an alarming 77.2% in Q1 2023, painting a stark picture of the hardships facing jobseekers.


Also read:

Post Office fails to pay into employees’ retirement fund for three years – Raising concerns

Picture:  Pexels / Ron Lach

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