Almost 8mln now unemployed in SA
Formal sector employment in South Africa fell by 128 000 in the last quarter of 2023. Photo Reuters

Almost 8mln now unemployed in SA

Renée Bonorchis - The fourth-quarter unemployment rate rose by 0.2 of a percentage point to 32.1% from 31.9% in the third quarter, Statistics SA data shows.

The increase in unemployment is yet another blow for the ANC ahead of a national election in which the party is expected to lose its majority.

The increase in the number of people without jobs comes after two consecutive quarters of a decline in South Africa’s jobless rate and makes a mockery of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address earlier this month when he spoke about the recent declines in unemployment and said the government had "enabled a diverse economy whose minerals, agricultural products and manufactured goods reach every corner of the world, while creating jobs in South Africa".

The number of employed people dropped by 22 000 to 16.7 million in the fourth quarter and the number of unemployed persons increased by 46 000 to 7.9 million during the same quarter.

Unemployment has ballooned in the past decade, from 4.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.



Industries

The number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 218 000 to 13.4 million, while discouraged work-seekers decreased by 107 000 in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the third quarter of 2023.

This resulted in a net increase of 111 000 in the not economically active population, Stats SA said.

Formal sector employment fell by 128 000, while informal sector employment climbed by 124 000.

The industries that contributed to the net employment decline included community and social services, construction, agriculture, trade and manufacturing. The industries that added jobs were finance, transport, mining and private households.

The unemployment rate, according to the expanded definition, decreased 0.1 of a percentage point to 41.1% quarter-on-quarter. – Fin24

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