South Africa Sheds Title Of Highest Global Unemployment Rate

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South Africa is known for its shockingly high rate of unemployment that looks bleaker everyday. But, a small ray of hope has changed that. 


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Despite the challenges of increased loadshedding and the inflation rate, South Africa has experienced a slight growth in employment numbers. 

This small growth, achieved by unemployed citizens now gaining employment through the manufacturing sector, followed by trade, construction and transport (according to Stats SA), has meant that the country no longer holds the title of having the highest unemployment rate across the globe.  

According to Stats SA, "204 000 jobs were gained between the second and third quarters of 2022. The total number of persons employed was 15.8 million in the third quarter of 2022." A miniscule achievement, but an achievement nonetheless. 

"In the second quarter, manufacturing was hit quite hard by the floods because KwaZulu-Natal has a very high concentration of manufacturing-related businesses, and of course vehicle manufacturers were heavily affected. So I think as their production facilities were rebuilt and normalized over the third quarter, they employed more people," says Nicky Weimar, Chief Economist at Nedbank

South Africa has long struggled with an unemployment rate that only seemed to rise higher each day.  With this welcomed change to the unemployment rate, the number of unemployed people now stands at 7.7 million; a decrease of 269 000. 

Despite the celebrated decrease in the country's unemployment rate, youth unemployment has unfortunately increased.

Government has put a number of plans in place to combat unemployment, particularly amongst the youth. Although graduate unemployment rates are significantly lower, figures show that a university degree does not guarantee a job.

The unemployment rate among graduates aged 15-24 was close to 33%, and among those between 25 and 34 years, just more than 22% in the first quarter of 2022.

Many organizations such as the country's National Youth Development Agency  and the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI) have been created to combat the issue of unemployment amongst the youth, but there is still a long way to go. 

Lethiwe Sinodumo Nkosi, Network Mobiliser at Youth Capital, says the challenges faced by the youth in finding employment start prior to them looking for employment and can start as early as during their schooling career.

"Challenges don’t start when they start looking for jobs, but while they are still in school… and then there are challenges that young people face in the transition from school to the labor market, for example, the high cost of looking for work is a challenge they have," explains Nkosi.

Nkosi added that socio-economic factors also play a huge role in youth unemployment and limits the youth in terms of job opportunities and guidance.

 

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