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Unemployment Rate Rises To 32.5%

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South Africa's unemployment rate has increased by 1.7% from the third quarter of 2020. 

StatsSA released the Labour Force Survey in the fourth quarter, which showed that the number of unemployed persons increased by 701 000.

This brought the total to 7.2 million, compared to quarter 3 in 2020. 

“The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment decreased by 0.5 of a percentage point to 42.6% in Quarter 4: 2020 compared to Quarter 3: 2020,” reads the report.

Despite this, the number of employed people increased by 333 000 to 15 million. 

“Formal sector employment increased by 189 000 (1.8%); informal sector employment by 65 000 (2.6%); private households by 76 000 (6.8%), and employment in agriculture increased by 2 000 (0.3%). Employment increased in all industries, except finance and mining. The industries which gained the most jobs were community and social services (170 000) and construction (86 000),” said Maluleke.

Stats SA said 3 industries experienced the most job losses:

  • Finance - 256 000 
  • Community and social services - 241 000
  • Manufacturing - 230 000

The results from the survey also showed that 15 million people who were employed in quarter 4 were expected to work during the national lockdown. 

“Those who actually worked were predominately men in most industries, except in the community and social services sector and private households, where the majority were women,” said Stats SA.

Working from home was common in Gauteng and the Western Cape, mainly among professionals and managers. 

Many people who were employed during the lockdown, still continued to receive pay. However, those who had lower levels of education were less likely to receive their full salaries than those with higher levels of education. 

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