MEDIA STATEMENT: Unemployment data reflects a structural crisis and underperforming economy

25/08/2021 | By Admin

Unemployment data reflect a structural crisis and underperforming economy that only swift and decisive action by all social partners can address

25 August 2021

South Africa’s second-quarter unemployment data, released by Statistics South Africa earlier this week, reflect a structural crisis and underperforming economy that only swift and decisive action by all social partners can address.

Having reached a record high of 34.4%, South Africa’s unemployment rate has surged to the highest on a global list of 82 countries monitored by Bloomberg. Unfortunately, it is inevitably going to rise further as the Q2 figures do not incorporate the effects of the unrest in July.

The expanded unemployment rate, which includes discouraged work seekers, has risen to 44.4% from 43.2% in the first quarter. This translates to 7 826 000 people wanting to work but not able to find a job, and an additional 4 074 000 people that have given up looking for a job. The youth unemployment rate was recorded at 64.4% for ages 15-24 and 42.9% for 25-34. This is incredibly concerning, says BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso.

The figures further shows that the rate of unemployment among women is higher than men, which is also very concerning. The jobless rate among black African women is at 41% compared to 8,2% among white women, 22,4% among Indian/Asian women and 29,9% among coloured women.

These figures don’t account for the economic sabotage that we experienced last month. The sectors most affected by the factional fallout in the governing party were the retail and hospitality sectors, both large employers of women. The Gauteng government estimates that 14,500 jobs in the province have been affected by the unrest while in Kwazulu-Natal, some 150,000 jobs remain at risk with 40,000 businesses affected.

The measures that the state has undertaken to safeguard the economy are clearly in need of urgent review as growing unemployment erodes the little confidence that is in the system. Without it, it will make meeting the objectives of last October’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan that much tougher for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration.

It is only through meeting the commitments made by all social partners in the recovery plan that we can begin to claw our way out of a decade-long situation where our economy has not been producing enough jobs to meet the growth of the job market, Mavuso says.


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