Unemployment becoming a national disaster

ByMargie D. Moore

Mar 30, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


The grim stats of unemployment in SA are not a solution, nor is the equally grim point that the figures keep having worse 12 months immediately after yr.

Statistics South Africa’s most recent Quarterly Labour Drive Study (QLFS) reiterates this actuality with figures displaying that there are more than 7.9 million unemployed folks in SA, irrespective of their ideal endeavours to obtain employment.

Stats SA states the unemployment price, in accordance to the slim definition of unemployment, greater to 35.3% at the finish of 2021. Stats SA notes that this is a new report considering that it started out doing the survey in 2008 – a sentiment it also expressed at the time of the past launch of the study for the quarter to September 2021.

A lot of persons have given up hunting for non-existent work, raising the range of unemployed people – who would essentially like to do the job – to 10.7 million.

The broader unemployment price, which contains discouraged operate seekers, has increased to 46.2% of prospective employees.

It gets even even worse. Stats SA notes in its report of the study done in the course of the last quarter of 2021 that a great deal of young men and women are not only discouraged with the labour market, they have even specified up on understanding the needed skills to come across work.

Study: Youth unemployment: Two knock-on results to anticipate

“Some young individuals have been discouraged with the labour market place and they are also not making on their skills base as a result of education and learning and teaching – they are not in work, education and learning or teaching.

“There have been about 10.2 million youthful people aged 15 to 24 decades in quarter four of 2021, of which 32.8% have been not in work, training or coaching,” in accordance to the report.

That adds a further 3 million odd to the unemployment quantities.

Even these figures do not inform the total story.

A person needs to dig into the raw numbers and seem at the statistics likely back again years to fully comprehend the seriousness of the issue.

This is one thing the Stats SA report fails to do with its concentrate on quarter-to-quarter statistics and percentage adjustments.

Uncooked info

The details equipped as added info to the report exhibits that the doing work age population in SA is rising rapidly.

Defined as people concerning the age of 15 and 65, the operating age populace has greater from 31.5 million in 2008 (initially quarter) to 39.9 million at the end of 2021.

In shorter, there are 8.5 million extra possible employees in SA than in 2008.

A graph of the boost in the performing age population exhibits uninterrupted, regular advancement.

Raise in doing work age population (countless numbers)

Resource: Based mostly on Stats SA info

Stats SA places the labour drive at just underneath 22.5 million at the stop of 2021, right after accounting for men and women who are not obtainable for employments, this sort of as students, total-time college students and folks who opt for not to do the job. The latter consists of keep-at-property mothers and dads with abundant spouses and individuals who opted for early retirement.

In 2008, the full labour force amounted to 18.8 million. Consequently, the figures present an enhance of 8.5 million in the performing age population, but a lower maximize in the dimension of the labour drive of 3.7 million.

The bulk of the variation can be attributed to youthful men and women being in college and attending universities and tertiary instruction institutions. Truly, this corrects the rather aged definition of a doing work age that starts at 15 or 16 decades of age.

Improve in labour power (countless numbers)

Source: Centered on Stats SA knowledge


Work experienced been raising due to the fact 2008, but not rapidly sufficient to maintain pace with a growing inhabitants and a single that is skewed in direction of young people developing up and reaching doing the job age. Then Covid-19 strike.

The original QLFS (in 2008) documented 14.4 million people in work that year, with later surveys reporting a constant rise to a peak of 16.4 million in the December 2019 quarter. That’s two million new work, and foodstuff for a lot of family members.

Whilst the growth in employment was too gradual then – about the similar time period the performing age inhabitants elevated by 6.6 million and the labour power by 4.3 million – it crashed when Covid-19 strike.

Within just months, SA dropped 2.5 million work.

The QLFS data demonstrates that the variety of used folks in SA fell to the similar amount as in 2008.

Range of employed folks (1000’s)

Source: Centered on Stats SA data

Unemployment rate

No enhance in the range of accessible work opportunities because 2008, and the constant enhance in the working age populace and the variety of people in search of employment, end result in an unbelievable and really worrisome unemployment level.

Unemployment fee (slim definition)

Supply: Dependent on Stats SA knowledge

The present unemployment amount of 35.3% can be interpreted in distinct ways. A single is to position out that 35 out of every single 100 men and women keen to perform can not come across function. One more is to say that a person out of each 3 older people in SA is staring at a bare food stuff cupboard and does not know what to do about it.

The expanded definition of unemployment suggests that fifty percent the individuals who actually want to work are unable to find careers.

Read through: The South African disaster: No businesses for the unemployed

In the meantime, Stats SA’s latest purchaser cost index report displays a steep improve in charges of simple foodstuffs.

The hottest QLFS contains heaps of figures: by province, age, race, gender, business, lengths of unemployment and amount of instruction. It is in all probability all extremely handy, but the challenge of unemployment is obtaining so large that these data need to be mostly irrelevant.

At this phase, a new task is a new position – lending trustworthiness to calls to deregulate labour marketplaces and doing absent with whichever stands in the way of making work opportunities.


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