SA's unemployment rate remains unchanged

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

South Africa’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 27.7% in the third quarter of 2017, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Tuesday.

“Unemployment is still at 27.7% like it was in the second quarter,” Statistician General Pali Lehohla said at the release of the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) on Tuesday.

In the third quarter of the South African labour market, employment was at 16.2 million, while the absorption rate was at 43.3%. The country’s absorption rate has not recovered to the level of 45.8% seen in 2008. Meanwhile, the labour force participation rate was at 59.9%.

The labour market in the third quarter had 37.4 million people of working age (15 to 64 years) with 22.4 million - up by 125 000 quarter on quarter in the labour force.

A total 16.2 million people, up by 92 000 were employed, while 6.2 million (up by 33 000) were not employed in the third quarter. Those who were not economically active were at 15 million.

The survey found that there were large disparities in the labour market with women having a higher unemployment rate than men. In addition, the less educated were more likely to be unemployed.

By age group, the 25 to 34 year olds almost have the same participation level as 45 to 54 year olds but their unemployment rate is double that of 45 to 54 year olds.

For those not in employment, education and training (NEET) the QLFS found that of the 10.3 million young people aged 15 to 34, 3.1 million were not in NEET.

The net quarter on quarter increase of 92 000 in employment were driven by the finance sector which grew by 68 000 mainly driven by business activities, as well as architectural, engineering and other technical activities. Gains were also seen in the service sector which was up by 56 000, transport by 34 000 mainly driven by gains in other land transport, as well as air transport. Gains were also made in the trade sector.

When coming to the informal sector employment, the QLFS showed that this increased from 2.4 million in the first quarter of 2008 to 2.7 million in the third quarter of 2017. Formal sector employment meanwhile has shown an upward trend increasing from 9.9 million in the first quarter of 2008 to 11.4 million in the third quarter of 2017.

The survey which is household based and collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 to 64 years – found that unemployment and education continue to drive multidimensional poverty. The data showed that the number of unemployment people increased from 4.4 million in the first quarter of 2008 to 6.2 million in the third quarter of 2017.

The expanded unemployment rate increased to 9.4 million in the third quarter. –

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