Unemployment becoming a national disaster


The grim stats of unemployment in SA are not a top secret, nor is the similarly grim fact that the figures keep receiving worse yr after 12 months.

Studies South Africa’s hottest Quarterly Labour Power Study (QLFS) reiterates this actuality with figures demonstrating that there are additional than 7.9 million unemployed people in SA, irrespective of their very best initiatives to locate employment.

Stats SA suggests the unemployment fee, according to the slim definition of unemployment, elevated to 35.3% at the end of 2021. Stats SA notes that this is a new report considering the fact that it began accomplishing the survey in 2008 – a sentiment it also expressed at the time of the preceding release of the study for the quarter to September 2021.

A great deal of folks have provided up searching for non-existent work, expanding the amount of unemployed persons – who would actually like to get the job done – to 10.7 million.

The broader unemployment fee, which incorporates discouraged do the job seekers, has increased to 46.2% of opportunity workers.

It gets even worse. Stats SA notes in its report of the study carried out all through the past quarter of 2021 that a whole lot of youthful folks are not only discouraged with the labour current market, they have even offered up on mastering the important techniques to discover work.

Examine: Youth unemployment: Two knock-on consequences to expect

“Some young people today have been discouraged with the labour market place and they are also not setting up on their competencies base by schooling and training – they are not in work, schooling or coaching.

“There had been about 10.2 million young individuals aged 15 to 24 several years in quarter 4 of 2021, of which 32.8% were being not in employment, education or education,” in accordance to the report.

That adds yet another three million odd to the unemployment figures.

Even these figures do not explain to the whole tale.

Just one requirements to dig into the uncooked numbers and seem at the figures going again a long time to thoroughly comprehend the seriousness of the trouble.

This is anything the Stats SA report fails to do with its concentrate on quarter-to-quarter figures and proportion improvements.

Raw facts

The info equipped as added facts to the report shows that the operating age populace in SA is increasing promptly.

Defined as persons involving the age of 15 and 65, the doing the job age inhabitants has increased from 31.5 million in 2008 (very first quarter) to 39.9 million at the close of 2021.

In shorter, there are 8.5 million more probable staff in SA than in 2008.

A graph of the improve in the working age populace displays uninterrupted, continuous progress.

Raise in doing the job age inhabitants (thousands)

Resource: Based on Stats SA knowledge

Stats SA places the labour force at just underneath 22.5 million at the end of 2021, right after accounting for persons who are not offered for employments, such as scholars, total-time students and persons who pick out not to perform. The latter features keep-at-house moms and dads with wealthy spouses and men and women who opted for early retirement.

In 2008, the full labour pressure amounted to 18.8 million. Consequently, the figures show an increase of 8.5 million in the performing age inhabitants, but a reduce maximize in the dimensions of the labour power of 3.7 million.

The bulk of the big difference can be attributed to more youthful persons staying in school and attending universities and tertiary education and learning establishments. Basically, this corrects the instead aged definition of a functioning age that begins at 15 or 16 yrs of age.

Increase in labour drive (hundreds)

Supply: Primarily based on Stats SA facts


Employment had been escalating considering that 2008, but not quick plenty of to continue to keep speed with a increasing populace and just one that is skewed in the direction of younger individuals increasing up and reaching operating age. Then Covid-19 strike.

The first QLFS (in 2008) claimed 14.4 million men and women in employment that yr, with afterwards surveys reporting a continuous increase to a peak of 16.4 million in the December 2019 quarter. Which is two million new work opportunities, and foods for a great deal of families.

Though the expansion in work was much too slow then – above the similar interval the operating age populace enhanced by 6.6 million and the labour force by 4.3 million – it crashed when Covid-19 hit.

Within just months, SA misplaced 2.5 million work.

The QLFS data reveals that the quantity of utilized folks in SA fell to the exact degree as in 2008.

Quantity of employed people (1000’s)

Supply: Primarily based on Stats SA details

Unemployment price

No increase in the number of offered positions given that 2008, and the continuous raise in the performing age populace and the selection of persons searching for employment, consequence in an unbelievable and pretty worrisome unemployment level.

Unemployment fee (slim definition)

Resource: Dependent on Stats SA info

The recent unemployment rate of 35.3% can be interpreted in diverse ways. 1 is to stage out that 35 out of each individual 100 persons eager to function cannot uncover operate. A further is to say that one out of every 3 older people in SA is staring at a bare food cupboard and doesn’t know what to do about it.

The expanded definition of unemployment indicates that 50 percent the persons who basically want to work cannot obtain jobs.

Browse: The South African disaster: No businesses for the unemployed

Meanwhile, Stats SA’s new customer cost index report demonstrates a steep increase in price ranges of basic foodstuffs.

The most recent QLFS incorporates loads of figures: by province, age, race, gender, industry, lengths of unemployment and degree of training. It is possibly all incredibly useful, but the challenge of unemployment is obtaining so large that these statistics need to be mainly irrelevant.

At this stage, a new position is a new task – lending believability to phone calls to deregulate labour marketplaces and carrying out away with whatever stands in the way of generating careers.


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