Stats SA has published the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2018, showing that South Africa’s unemployment rate has remained unchanged at 26.7% since the end of 2017.
According to the stats body, the working-age population increased by 153,000 or 0.4% in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.
The rise in both employment (up by 206,000) and unemployment (up by 100,000) over the quarter led to a rise in labour force participation rate (from 58.8% to 59.3%).
Employment gains were recorded in the formal sector (111,000), informal sector (93,000) and private households (5,000), while Agriculture recorded job losses (down by 3,000) in the first quarter of 2018.
The number of discouraged work-seekers increased by 249,000 while the number of other not economically active persons decreased by 403,000, resulting in a net decline of 154,000 (down by 1.0 percentage point) in the number of people not economically active between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.
The quarterly employment increase of 206,000 in Q1: 2018 was driven by six of 10 industries.
The contributors to the increase were the Community and social services (95,000), Manufacturing (58,000), Construction (40,000) Trade (36,000) and Finance and other business services (30,000) industries.
Employment declines were recorded in Transport (41,000), Mining (14,000), Utilities (6,000) and Agriculture (3,000).
While the official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 26.7% in Q1: 2018 compared to Q4: 2017, it increased in seven of the nine provinces and it decreased in two of the provinces.
The largest increase in the unemployment rate was recorded in Mpumalanga (up by 3.5 percentage points), Northern Cape (up by 2.4 percentage points), and North West (up by 1.9 percentage points).
KwaZulu-Natal (down by 1.8 percentage points) and Gauteng (down by 0.5 of a percentage point) recorded a decline in official unemployment rate.
The expanded unemployment rate increased by 0.4 of a percentage point in Q1: 2018 to 36.7% quarter-to-quarter, Stats SA said.