Statistics South Africa has released its 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.
While these stats point to a ‘stable’ unemployment rate, a growing concern is the number of young people without jobs in the country, Stats SA said.
“South Africa’s unemployment rate is high for both youth and adults – however, the unemployment rate among young people aged 15–34 was 38.2%, implying that more than one in every three young people in the labour force did not have a job in the first quarter of 2018,” it said.
“Some of these young people have become discouraged with the labour market and they are also not building on their skills base through education and training – they are not in employment, education or training (NEET).”
“The NEET rate, seen in conjunction with unemployment rates over 50%, suggests that South African young people face extreme difficulties engaging with the labour market. Certain factors such as lack of experience and length of unemployment may increase the vulnerabilities of these young people in the labour market,” it said.
While a university degree is often seen as a means of lifting the population out of unemployment – Stats SA said that the youth unemployment problem was notable, irrespective of education level.
It found that the graduate unemployment rate was 33.5% for those aged between 15–24, and 10.2% among those aged 25–34 years.
However this number decreased significantly among adults (aged 35–64 years) where the unemployment rate is just 4.7% for graduates.
“When young people are employed in the South African labour market, their employment intensity is the highest amongst the Trade, Agriculture, and Finance and other business services industries,” Stats SA said.
“Low and semi-skilled youth employment is concentrated in the Trade industry, while high-skilled youth employment is in the Community and social services as well as Finance and other business services industries.”