The official unemployment rate is up again. Stats SA data shows that unemployment rose to 27.6% in the first quarter of this year. To put things into perspective, in the January to March quarter of 2018, there were 4.4 million people unemployed. That number grew to 6.2 million in the comparable quarter of 2019.
The number of discouraged workers – those people who have given up looking for work – has also increased, taking the expanded definition of unemployment to 38%, or some 9.9 million. The country has been in an unemployment crisis for years, and it seems any solutions put on the table so far haven’t worked in any material way. Mamokgethi Molopyane, an independent labour analyst, discusses the latest figures, the ticking time bomb of youth unemployment, and the outlook for the country, with Nompu Siziba.