Unemployment On The Rise In SA



The number of unemployed people living in South Africa increased in the final three months of the year. This was revealed by Statistics South Africa earlier this week. 



The latest figures from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) have shown a concerning rise in South Africa's unemployment rate, reaching 32.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) released the 2023 Fourth Quarter QLFS earlier this week.

The official unemployment rate stands at 32,1%, an increase of 0,2 of a percentage point in Q4 2023 compared to Q3 2023. 

This quarterly increase of 0.2 percentage points from the third quarter's rate of 31.9% highlights the country's ongoing challenges within the nation's labour market amidst economic fluctuations.

The QLFS data showed that the workforce saw a decrease in employment, with 22,000 fewer people employed, bringing the total to 16.7 million in the last quarter compared to the third quarter of 2023. This drop in employment significantly contributes to the current high unemployment rate, underscoring the instability of job security across various industries.

Simultaneously, the survey reports an increase in the number of unemployed individuals, which rose by 46,000 to a total of 7.9 million in the same period. This surge further deepens the employment crisis, leaving millions without a steady income.

Interestingly, the labour market dynamics presented in the survey depict a mixed scenario. The count of those not economically active for reasons other than discouragement went up significantly by 218,000, reaching 13.4 million. 

However, the survey found a decrease of 107,000 in discouraged work-seekers. As a result, the non-economically active population net increased by 111,000 in the fourth quarter.

Despite the grim news on the official unemployment rate's increase, the unemployment rate according to the expanded definition, which includes those no longer searching for work, witnessed a slight decline by 0.1 percentage point, dropping to 41.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023. 

This minor decline may reflect a variety of factors affecting individuals' participation in the labour market, including discouragement, the possibility of informal employment, or other socio-economic conditions.

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