For the first time in 11 years, South Africa’s unemployment rate has not decreased in the fourth quarter and instead has remained unchanged.
Statistics SA’s quarterly labour force survey, released on Tuesday, showed that the unemployment rate remained unmoved at 29.1% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019 – against the normal trend.
Stat’s SA’s acting chief director of labour statistics Malerato Mosiane noted that normally employment levels increase in the trade industry, particularly related to temporary employment, however over the past two years there have been consistent declines.
The largest declines in employment were in manufacturing and trade, which recorded 39 000 and 159 000 job losses respectively.
On the other hand, the increase in unemployment in Q4 was mainly driven by the formal sector, namely community and social services (113 000), finance (76 000) and transport (36 000).
Meanwhile the official unemployment rate remained unchanged the expanded rate, which includes discouraged work-seekers and others who are not looking for work, increased slightly to 38.7%.
Uneducated youth hard hit
The rate of unemployment among those who are between 15 to 24 years old and 25 to 34 years old in Q4 sat at 58.1% and 35.6% respectively, which is markedly higher than the 35 to 64-year cohort where the rate was at just under 20%.
Statistician–General Risenga Maluleke, noted the importance of education, highlighting that graduates only made up 7.6% of the unemployment population compared with those with matric and without matric who accounted for 29.7% and 34.6% respectively. Watch the clip below:
Graduates also had an 81% chance of being absorbed into the labour market.
“When we look at this it shows that education, education, education, does assist in our people being able to get employment. In all the categories where the absorption and labour participation seems to be increasing it’s only when they have higher levels of education,” said Maluleke.