Unemployment Hits Highest Since 2008

The graph of the unemployment statistic

The unemployment rate has reached its highest number since 2008. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), the unemployment in South Africa has reached 34.4% in the second three months of 2021.

The statistics were released by the Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke on Tuesday. Maluleke said that for the second quarter of 2021 the number of employed personnel has decreased by 54 000 reaching 14,9 million while the number of unemployed persons increased by 584 000 to 7,8 million.

Maluleke attributed the unemployment to the South African Labour markets being more favourable to men than it is to women.  

“The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment increased by 1.2 percentage points to 44.4% in quarter 2, 2021, compared to quarter 1, 2021. The results indicate that the South African labour market is more favourable to men than it is to women,”

“The rate of unemployment among women was 36.8% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to 32.4% among men according to the official definition of unemployment”, Maluleke explained.

The number of discouraged work-seekers has increased by 186 000 (5.9%), while the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 571 000 (4.5%) between the two quarters. Statician-General further stated that this resulted in a net of 386 000 not economically active citizens.

During this period, the rate of the unemployment among the Black African women was 41,0% compared to 8,2% among White Women, 22,4% among Indian/Asian women and 29% among Coloureds.

The industries whose employment has increased are:

  • Construction increased by 143 000
  • Trade increased jobs by 108 000
  • Agriculture gained 69 000 jobs
  • Private households gained 67 000 jobs
  • Transport increased jobs by 166 000.

While some industries faced an increase in job creation, others faced a decrease. The highest job losses were observed in the finance industry with 278 000 job losses, community and social services faced 166 000 job losses while manufacturing registered 83 000 job losses.



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