South Africa’s unemployment rate unchanged at 29.1%

Stats SA has published its latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey, showing that South Africa’s unemployment rate has not changed over the last three months.

Data from the fourth quarter of 2019 indicates that the official unemployment rate remain unchanged (29.1%) compared to the third quarter of 2019.

According to Stats SA, the number of employed persons increased by 45,000 to 16.4 million and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 8,000 to 6.7 million compared to Q3 2019 – resulting in an increase of 38,000 in the labour force.

The working age population increased by 145,000 people over the period.

Employment increased in two of the four sectors in Q4 2019.

The formal sector recorded the largest employment increase of 117,000 followed by agriculture (6,000). Employment in the informal sector declined by 77,000 and remain unchanged in private households.

Between Q3 and Q4 2019, the number of employed persons increased in six of the 10 industries, with the largest increase recorded in community and social services (113,000), followed by finance (76,000) and transport (36,000).

Declines in employment were recorded in the trade (159,000), manufacturing (39,000) and Utilities (14,000) industries, while private households remained constant.

Compared to the same period last year, a net decline of 108,000 in total employment in Q4: 2019 was largely due to decreases in the number of people employed in Construction (131,000), trade (70,000), private households and manufacturing (46,000 each), and finance (43,000) industries.

Employment gains were recorded in community and social services (168,000), transport (46,000) and agriculture (36,000) industries during the same period.


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South Africa’s unemployment rate unchanged at 29.1%