South African unemployment rate climbs as the formal sector sheds jobs

 ·30 Oct 2018
SA unemployment

Stats SA has published its latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey results for the third quarter of the year, showing that South Africa’s unemployment rate increased marginally to 27.5%.

According to the stats group the South African working-age population increased by 153,000 or 0.4% in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the second quarter of 2018.

The number of employed persons increased by 92,000 to 16.4 million and the number of unemployed persons rose by 127,000 to 6.2 million in Q3: 2018.

The absorption rate remained unchanged at 43.1% and the unemployment rate increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 27.5% in the same period.

The expanded unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 37.3%.

The net increase of 92,000 employed people was not enough to compensate for the influx of new job seekers and rise of unemployed persons.

The formal sector saw a reduction of 65,000 jobs in the quarter, while private households shed a further 30,000 jobs. The agriculture sector saw the loss of 1,000 jobs.

The informal sector, meanwhile, grew by 188,000 jobs over the period.

Compared to a year ago, employment increased by 1.2% (188 000), Stats SA said, while unemployment decreased by 1,000 and the number of persons who were not economically active increased by 2.8% (424,000) – 297,000 being discouraged work-seekers.

By Sector, finance and other business services saw the biggest increase in employment, with a 102,000 new jobs, while private households saw the biggest loss (30,000 jobs) followed by the mining industry (29,000 jobs).

South Africa’s unemployment problem

The latest data comes just days after president Cyril Ramaphosa promised that a fresh investment drive for South Africa would lead to job creation in the country.

The president announced that investment initiatives have so far secured R260 billion for South Africa, with the promise that the number of employment opportunities coming would be “phenomenal” and “unprecedented”.

Earlier in October, Ramaphosa hosted a two-day jobs summit, highlighting the country’s urgent need for job creation.

He called for all industries to align and develop “practical measures” and initiatives to create employment for millions of South Africans.

Special attention is being made on youth unemployment, with the launch of Yes4Youth, which aims to link black South Africans to employment opportunities.

Read: This incredible map shows where the highest levels of unemployment are in Gauteng

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