Unemployment becoming a national disaster

Unemployment becoming a national disaster


The grim studies of unemployment in SA are not a secret, nor is the similarly grim reality that the figures preserve receiving worse calendar year following 12 months.

Data South Africa’s hottest Quarterly Labour Pressure Survey (QLFS) reiterates this truth with figures exhibiting that there are additional than 7.9 million unemployed persons in SA, even with their greatest initiatives to uncover work.

Stats SA claims the unemployment amount, according to the narrow definition of unemployment, amplified to 35.3% at the conclude of 2021. Stats SA notes that this is a new document given that it started off carrying out the study in 2008 – a sentiment it also expressed at the time of the prior launch of the study for the quarter to September 2021.

A good deal of people today have supplied up hunting for non-existent jobs, raising the quantity of unemployed people – who would really like to work – to 10.7 million.

The broader unemployment level, which involves discouraged do the job seekers, has enhanced to 46.2% of likely personnel.

It will get even even worse. Stats SA notes in its report of the study conducted in the course of the very last quarter of 2021 that a large amount of younger people are not only discouraged with the labour industry, they have even provided up on learning the vital skills to come across careers.

Read: Youth unemployment: Two knock-on effects to be expecting

“Some youthful men and women have been discouraged with the labour market and they are also not building on their capabilities foundation by way of education and instruction – they are not in employment, education or teaching.

“There had been about 10.2 million youthful people today aged 15 to 24 several years in quarter 4 of 2021, of which 32.8% had been not in employment, schooling or coaching,” according to the report.

That provides yet another three million odd to the unemployment quantities.

Even these figures do not explain to the full tale.

A single wants to dig into the uncooked quantities and search at the data going again several years to fully understand the seriousness of the trouble.

This is anything the Stats SA report fails to do with its concentration on quarter-to-quarter studies and percentage modifications.

Raw details

The information supplied as further information and facts to the report displays that the doing the job age inhabitants in SA is rising fast.

Described as persons among the age of 15 and 65, the operating age population has enhanced from 31.5 million in 2008 (initial quarter) to 39.9 million at the end of 2021.

In limited, there are 8.5 million a lot more possible employees in SA than in 2008.

A graph of the increase in the doing work age population exhibits uninterrupted, steady expansion.

Boost in doing work age population (hundreds)

Supply: Based on Stats SA info

Stats SA places the labour drive at just beneath 22.5 million at the conclusion of 2021, right after accounting for individuals who are not accessible for employments, this sort of as scholars, entire-time pupils and men and women who pick not to operate. The latter includes continue to be-at-dwelling moms and dads with abundant spouses and individuals who opted for early retirement.

In 2008, the complete labour power amounted to 18.8 million. So, the figures present an increase of 8.5 million in the functioning age population, but a reduce boost in the size of the labour drive of 3.7 million.

The bulk of the variation can be attributed to more youthful people today keeping in college and attending universities and tertiary schooling institutions. Essentially, this corrects the relatively aged definition of a functioning age that starts at 15 or 16 several years of age.

Boost in labour power (countless numbers)

Supply: Primarily based on Stats SA info


Employment experienced been rising due to the fact 2008, but not quick adequate to keep tempo with a developing inhabitants and 1 that is skewed to youthful folks escalating up and achieving working age. Then Covid-19 hit.

The original QLFS (in 2008) described 14.4 million men and women in employment that 12 months, with afterwards surveys reporting a regular increase to a peak of 16.4 million in the December 2019 quarter. That is two million new employment, and foods for a large amount of households.

Even though the development in work was as well slow then – more than the exact same time period the doing the job age inhabitants greater by 6.6 million and the labour pressure by 4.3 million – it crashed when Covid-19 strike.

In just months, SA shed 2.5 million careers.

The QLFS information demonstrates that the range of employed individuals in SA fell to the exact level as in 2008.

Selection of used persons (countless numbers)

Source: Centered on Stats SA knowledge

Unemployment level

No enhance in the number of out there work since 2008, and the steady improve in the doing the job age populace and the range of people seeking work, end result in an unbelievable and extremely worrisome unemployment charge.

Unemployment fee (slim definition)

Source: Primarily based on Stats SA info

The current unemployment level of 35.3% can be interpreted in different strategies. A single is to issue out that 35 out of every 100 men and women eager to get the job done can not uncover do the job. One more is to say that a single out of every a few older people in SA is staring at a bare food items cabinet and does not know what to do about it.

The expanded definition of unemployment indicates that 50 percent the people today who actually want to operate can’t come across work.

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

Meanwhile, Stats SA’s new client price index report demonstrates a steep improve in selling prices of primary foodstuffs.

The most up-to-date QLFS includes heaps of studies: by province, age, race, gender, sector, lengths of unemployment and level of training. It is likely all quite beneficial, but the difficulty of unemployment is finding so big that these stats ought to be mainly irrelevant.

At this stage, a new task is a new task – lending trustworthiness to calls to deregulate labour markets and executing away with regardless of what stands in the way of developing employment.


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