Unemployment Rate Drop Not To Be Celebrated – COSATU

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While South Africa’s unemployment rate fell slightly in the fourth quarter, reaching the lowest level in two years, many have expressed that more needs to be done to adequately address joblessness in the country.


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Earlier this year week, Statistics South Africa published the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q4: 2022, showing a small drop in the country’s unemployment rate.

The statistics show that the official unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point from 32.9% in the third quarter of 2022 to 32.7% in the fourth quarter of 2022.

According to the expanded definition of unemployment, the unemployment rate also decreased by 0.5 of a percentage point to 42.6% in Q4:2022 compared to Q3:2022.

“In the fourth quarter of 2022, South Africa had 7.8 million persons who were without work, looking for work and available to work, of which 6.1 million were in long-term unemployment and 1.7 million in short-term unemployment,” Stats SA said.

However, the Congress of the South African Trade Union (Cosatu) expressed that this does not make a meaningful dent when considering discouraged jobseekers who are no longer actively looking for work.

They say that there has been no meaningful improvement in the numbers that highlight one of the starkest scourges of South Africa’s low-growth economy.

Cosatu deputy parliamentary officer Tony Ehrenreich noted that while the 0,2% is welcomed, far more urgent and decisive steps need to be taken by government to address the burning questions related to unemployment.

“We don’t dismiss the 0,2% increase because any opportunity to grow the economy and grow employment is important given its impact on our peoples livelihoods but we’ve got to do much better than a level of close up to 40% unemployment in our country.”

Cosatu stressed that part of the strategy to reduce unemployment should be to increase the levels of taxation on the wealthy.

They believe this will result in more money being invested into the economy and have a positive impact on job creation.

Ehrenreich continues, “In that way drag more people into employment because as we get more people into employment, they in themselves become consumers, their demand drives up economic growth in the country and that creates more employment opportunities as we have to create the additional products that will be bought by people.”

Furthermore, provincially, the number of employed individuals increased in five provinces between Q3: 2022 and Q4: 2022. Large employment increases were recorded in Western Cape (+167,000), North West (+23,000), Eastern Cape (+20,000) and Northern Cape (+12,000).

During the same period, employment losses were recorded in Limpopo (-20,000), Gauteng (-18,000), Mpumalanga (-13,000) and Free State (-3,000).

South Africa’s economy has many challenges that interfere with the creation of job; however, the energy crisis is set to be the biggest shock at the moment to both economic growth and employment levels. 

The recent surge in rolling blackouts means that further strain will be put on the economy and according to official forecasts, this will contribute to further declines in hiring and recruiting new employees.

 

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Person with a sign looking for a job

While the unemployment rate decreased marginally during the final months of 2022, jobs created in the fourth quarter represent progress. However, more work needs to be done to ensure substantial progress in reducing unemployment in South Africa.

 


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