New data from StatsSA finds that in 2014, as many as 1.5 million of the 5.1 million unemployed people were looking for a job for more than 5 years, up from 974,000 in 2008.
The research noted that there were 5.0 million unemployed people in South Africa in Q1:2014 of which 3.3 million were long-term unemployed and 1.7 million short-term unemployed.
Among those in long-term unemployment in Q1: 2014, 318,000 found a job the following quarter, while among the short-term unemployed, 337,000 found work.
StatsSA noted that women suffer from a higher incidence of long – term unemployment compared with men.
The results also suggest that the incidence of long – term unemployment is highest among black Africans, those with a matric qualification and the long – term unemployed who have had no previous work experience.
The incidence of long-term unemployment peaked in 2011 with 28.5% of unemployed people looking for work for more than five years, an additional 16.2% engaging in job search for three to five years and a further 23.9% looking for work for one to three years.
Over the period 2008–2014, the incidence of long-term unemployment was highest among Black Africans with as many as 61.0% – 71.0% of that group looking for work for one year or longer.
The unemployment rate among the white population group – ranging between 4.1% in 2008 and 7.3% in 2014 – is the lowest of all the population groups by a large margin, the data found.
“Their better status in the labour market is also signalled by absorption rates that are substantially higher than the other groups,” StatsSA said.
In 2014, Black Africans account for 79.3% of the working age population but they are under -represented among the employed (73.0%) and over-represented among the unemployed (85.7%) and the not economically active population (83.3%).
Compounding the dire labour market situation of Black Africans, is that an even larger percentage (87,4%) of those that are unemployed have been looking for work for one year or longer, StatsSA said.
The data also reveals the substantial gender bias in the incidence of long-term unemployment. The percentage of both men and women that were unemployed for one year or longer was highest in 2011 at 64.9% and 72.4% respectively.
By 2014, the percentage of unemployed people looking for work for one year or longer had fallen to 61.8% among men and 70.3% among women.
The data showed that in both 2008 and 2014, the incidence of long-term unemployment was lowest among those with tertiary education.
Over the period 2008 – 2014, there were increases for every education level, but it was among those with tertiary education that the increase was largest (10.7 percentage points).
In the post – recession period, since 2010 the incidence of long – term unemployment among those with work experience has been in the 54.0% to 58.0% range–up from 48.3% in 2008 before the recession occurred.
For those with no prior work experience the situation is substantially worse. The incidence of long-term unemployment for this group ranges from 80.0% – 83.4%, up from 74.9% in 2008, the data found.
The number of South Africans living in poverty has also increased since 2010, Statistics SA said.
In 2010, 20 percent of South Africa’s population fell below the poverty line, statistician general Pali Lehohla said in Johannesburg, at the release of a report on poverty.
This had increased to 21.5 percent in 2014, he said.
Five years ago, it cost an average South African R321 per month to buy food with the recommended energy requirements. This had increased to R355 in 2014.