Unemployment becoming a national disaster


The grim figures of unemployment in SA are not a mystery, nor is the similarly grim point that the figures maintain finding worse year soon after year.

Data South Africa’s newest Quarterly Labour Force Study (QLFS) reiterates this reality with figures showing that there are additional than 7.9 million unemployed folks in SA, inspite of their ideal attempts to come across employment.

Stats SA claims the unemployment fee, according to the slender definition of unemployment, enhanced to 35.3% at the end of 2021. Stats SA notes that this is a new report due to the fact it begun executing the study in 2008 – a sentiment it also expressed at the time of the prior release of the survey for the quarter to September 2021.

A large amount of people have supplied up wanting for non-existent careers, rising the variety of unemployed folks – who would really like to work – to 10.7 million.

The broader unemployment rate, which incorporates discouraged get the job done seekers, has greater to 46.2% of likely staff.

It gets even worse. Stats SA notes in its report of the survey performed during the final quarter of 2021 that a good deal of young people are not only discouraged with the labour market place, they have even provided up on studying the required expertise to come across careers.

Browse: Youth unemployment: Two knock-on effects to anticipate

“Some younger persons have been discouraged with the labour market and they are also not making on their skills foundation by means of education and instruction – they are not in work, instruction or coaching.

“There have been about 10.2 million young people today aged 15 to 24 years in quarter 4 of 2021, of which 32.8% have been not in employment, schooling or teaching,” in accordance to the report.

That adds another a few million odd to the unemployment figures.

Even these figures do not inform the total story.

A person requires to dig into the uncooked quantities and look at the studies likely back decades to totally comprehend the seriousness of the problem.

This is some thing the Stats SA report fails to do with its concentrate on quarter-to-quarter studies and percentage modifications.

Raw knowledge

The knowledge provided as supplemental data to the report demonstrates that the performing age inhabitants in SA is increasing rapidly.

Outlined as people involving the age of 15 and 65, the operating age population has greater from 31.5 million in 2008 (very first quarter) to 39.9 million at the conclusion of 2021.

In quick, there are 8.5 million much more possible employees in SA than in 2008.

A graph of the raise in the performing age inhabitants shows uninterrupted, continual progress.

Improve in functioning age populace (countless numbers)

Resource: Primarily based on Stats SA knowledge

Stats SA puts the labour power at just underneath 22.5 million at the conclude of 2021, just after accounting for persons who are not obtainable for employments, these kinds of as scholars, complete-time learners and persons who pick not to function. The latter features stay-at-residence moms and dads with abundant spouses and men and women who opted for early retirement.

In 2008, the overall labour drive amounted to 18.8 million. As a result, the figures show an enhance of 8.5 million in the working age populace, but a reduce enhance in the dimensions of the labour force of 3.7 million.

The bulk of the variation can be attributed to younger people today remaining in university and attending universities and tertiary schooling establishments. Really, this corrects the relatively aged definition of a doing work age that commences at 15 or 16 yrs of age.

Boost in labour pressure (1000’s)

Resource: Primarily based on Stats SA details


Employment experienced been expanding because 2008, but not speedy more than enough to hold rate with a rising population and 1 that is skewed to younger folks rising up and achieving doing the job age. Then Covid-19 strike.

The initial QLFS (in 2008) noted 14.4 million individuals in work that year, with afterwards surveys reporting a continual increase to a peak of 16.4 million in the December 2019 quarter. That is two million new work opportunities, and meals for a whole lot of families.

Whilst the development in employment was as well sluggish then – over the similar interval the performing age populace enhanced by 6.6 million and the labour power by 4.3 million – it crashed when Covid-19 hit.

Inside of months, SA lost 2.5 million careers.

The QLFS facts exhibits that the variety of employed individuals in SA fell to the same amount as in 2008.

Number of employed folks (countless numbers)

Resource: Dependent on Stats SA info

Unemployment fee

No maximize in the range of out there jobs since 2008, and the constant increase in the operating age population and the quantity of people today searching for work, outcome in an unbelievable and extremely worrisome unemployment rate.

Unemployment charge (slim definition)

Source: Dependent on Stats SA knowledge

The existing unemployment level of 35.3% can be interpreted in various methods. A single is to level out that 35 out of every single 100 individuals eager to function simply cannot come across work. One more is to say that just one out of every three grown ups in SA is staring at a bare foodstuff cabinet and does not know what to do about it.

The expanded definition of unemployment implies that fifty percent the people today who really want to get the job done are not able to discover work opportunities.

Go through: The South African catastrophe: No businesses for the unemployed

In the meantime, Stats SA’s recent consumer value index report exhibits a steep improve in charges of fundamental foodstuffs.

The newest QLFS incorporates heaps of stats: by province, age, race, gender, business, lengths of unemployment and degree of training. It is most likely all quite useful, but the issue of unemployment is acquiring so significant that these studies really should be mainly irrelevant.

At this stage, a new work is a new occupation – lending trustworthiness to calls to deregulate labour marketplaces and doing away with what ever stands in the way of developing work.


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