Unemployment rate rises to highest level since 2008 – Stats SA

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South Africa’s unemployment rate has increased to its highest level since the first quarter of 2008.

This is according to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The Survey found that SA’s unemployment rate rose by 0.1 of a percentage point to 29.1% in the 3rd quarter of 2019 compared to the 2nd quarter of 2019.

6.7 million unemployed people

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said the number of employed people rose by 62,000, bringing the total to 16.4 million.

However, the number of unemployed people increased by 78,000, bringing the total to 6.7 million in quarter 3 of 2019.

This is a significant increase from 4.3 million unemployed people in quarter 3 of 2009. Furthermore, the proportion of those in long-term unemployment rose from 60.3% in quarter 3 of 2009 to 70.9% in quarter 3 of 2019.

The formal sector saw the largest employment increase, absorbing 43,000 more worker in the 3rd quarter this year.

Agriculture and Private Household sectors followed with 38,000 and 35,000 respectively. However, employment in the informal sector declined by 53,000 compared to quarter 2 of 2019.

Total employment down by 5,000 since 2018

Compared with quarter 3 of 2018, total employment has decreased by 5,000 in quarter 3 of 2019.

During the same period, the number of unemployed persons increased by
8.4% (524,000) and the number of persons who were not economically active increased by 0.5% (78,000).

The latest figures come as Finance Minister Tito Mboweni prepares to deliver his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday.

Although South Africa’s economy recovered and grew by 3.1% in the second quarter after a 3.2% contraction in the first, annual projections remain low.

South African Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago recently put forward an estimate of just 0.6%.

In late August, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni published a draft economic recovery strategy paper, which the African National Congress (ANC) later discussed.

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