The unemployment rate declined to 26.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the quarterly labour force survey released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Tuesday.
This comprises 5.9 million people, based on the official definition of unemployment which includes those who are not employed but actively looking for jobs.
However, this is 12.7 percentage points away from the 14% targeted in the National Development Plan for 2020, according to statistician general Risenga Maluleke, who delivered the results in Pretoria. The NDP target for 2030 is 6%.
This is 1 percentage point down from the unemployment rate of 27.7% recorded for the second and third quarters of 2017.
Based on the expanded definition of unemployment – those aged between 15 and 64, who are not employed and are available for work – a total of 9.2 million people were unemployed, amounting to 36.3%.
There was a net decrease of 21 000 to 16.2 million in the number of those employed. Unemployment decreased by 330 000.
The absorption rate – which measures the proportion of the working age (15-64) population currently employed – was 43.1%; the 2030 target is 61%. The labour force participation rate, which measures the working age population actively engaged in labour by being employed or available to work, was 58.8%; the 2030 target is 65%.
Formal sector employment for the quarter declined by 135 000, and informal sector employment increased by 119 000 compared to the previous quarter.
The unemployment rate of women (29%) remains higher than that of men (24.8%). Women are also less likely to participate in the labour market, according to the report. Black women remain the most vulnerable, with an unemployment rate over 30%.
Stats SA also showed that unemployment is higher for those with lower education levels. The unemployment rate for those with less than matric is 31.2%, compared to graduates which is at 6.6%.
“You see education playing a critical role in labour markets,” said Maluleke.
Of the 10.3 million people in the age category between 15 and 24 years of age, 29.7% were not in employment, education or training. “Young people aged 15-24 remain vulnerable in the labour market with the unemployment rate of over 52% and absorption rate of almost 13%,” according to the report.
The unemployment rate of those aged between 25 and 34 (33.4%) is double that of 45- to 54-year-olds (15.6%).
“The absorption rate for people aged 25-34 years old is over 13 percentage points lower than that of people aged 45-54 years old,” the report read.
Drop in finance industry
Services, trade and finance remain the main contributors to employment and GDP for the quarter.
However, employment in the finance industry decreased by 91 000 for the quarter. There were also declines in the mining industry (35 000), trade (45 000) and private households (43 000).
There were gains in the social services industry (75 000), manufacturing (42 000), agriculture (39 000) and construction (26 000).
By Lameez Omarjee for Fin24
Fewer than a quarter of matrics find jobs relatively quickly, according to economist Mike Schüssler of economists.co.za.
Those members of the matric class of 2017 who will not be studying further, but will be looking for a job, will not be easily absorbed by the job market, he told Fin24 on Tuesday.
“It will be tough for them to get work. Over 50% of our matriculants under the age of 34 have not found permanent employment and it’s not getting better,” he said.
“This is part of the process young job seekers go though. It takes long to get a first job – even for those with a degree it takes a while. You do not get a degree and suddenly you are running the firm.”
The overall unemployment rate in SA nears 28% in the narrow sense (excluding people out of work, but still actively searching) and 37% in broader terms (including those who have given up looking for a job). For young people this figure is much higher. Schüssler estimates it to be well over 50%.
“To get your first job is probably one of the hardest things in life and often takes a while. If you have not had a job, you are regarded as not having ‘proven’ yourself yet,” explained Schüssler.
“Unemployment in SA is high already, but for the youth it is higher and for those looking for a first job it is very tough.”
According to Statistics SA, only 12.8% of people in SA between 15 and 24 have a job (in terms of the narrow definition). For those between 25 and 34 years of age, only 49.6% actually have a job; and for those between 35 to 44 years of age, 63% have a job.
“My message to matrics is that a job is a job. The big thing is to start off doing a first job. Yes, we will have minimum wages, but maybe we have to be careful regarding how it is implemented,” suggested Schüssler.
“Maybe people getting a job for the first time could be excused from having to get the minimum wage for the first two years of employment.”
Another suggestion by Schüssler is for young matriculants who do not find a job quickly to try and do volunteer work.
“Maybe ask if you can just get money for transport. At least you will still be in the process of learning. The next employer wants to know that you can stick to a job and perform the tasks you are given. That is very important,” said Schüssler.
Never lose hope
“Don’t give up hope. Everybody is suffering and employers often prefer young people who are a little bit older – about 25 years – as they might be regarded as being more mature and used to the discipline of sticking to a job.”
He pointed out that this is a global trend as older people tend to be regarded as having proven themselves – whether they have done so or not.
“Young people must try to offer a service – even start waitering, just start somewhere. The best advice is not to give up. And if you get a job, work hard. Employers want people who are productive and efficient,” said Schüssler.
“Young people must say to themselves: get a job, then negotiate and work your way up. It is not an automatic thing. Yes, SA’s unemployment is high, but all over the world young people struggle to find jobs.”
By Carin Smith for Fin24
With unemployment at its highest level, the youth are anxious, agitated and searching for creative ways to earn a living.
“In this environment, you cannot write off the temptation that confronts young people to commit fraud, when doors slam shut in their faces or do not even open in the first place,” says Manie van Schalkwyk of the South African Fraud Prevention Service.
The obvious temptation is CV doctoring, he says. By adding a few tweaks, candidates may make their application appear more professional than they actually are and increase chances for a job interview.
“Qualification fraud is simple enough to perform and with any luck an applicant may land an interview, even a job offer. But a few months into the job the employer will begin to wonder why the candidate’s skills and abilities do not match up to the qualifications he or she has presented on their CV. Questions will be asked. “When you are exposed as a fraud, you will have a criminal record,” Van Schalkwyk says.
For young people who are employed who wish to apply for store cards, credit cards or any type of credit, there is the temptation to stretch the salary or the length of time spent in a particular work place to increase their chances of credit approval or credit limit. Van Schalkwyk says, “Falsifying this information constitutes fraud.”
At another level, one of the first goals of a newly graduated student is to learn to drive and get a driver’s licence. So, they may be driving around in their parents’ or older sibling’s car, or they may have a car of their own.
In this case, the individual may wish to have car insurance. After phoning some insurance companies they may learn that their premium is higher than expected because of their lack of driving experience. They will persuade their parents to front for the policy, so that the policy is held in the parent’s name. This is falsely representing information as the younger person will be the primary driver of the vehicle being insured.
“A common illustration of this is alternative fact information given about who the regular driver of a vehicle will be,” says Deanne Wood, short term insurance ombudsman. “Older drivers pay significantly lower premiums than younger drivers.” The difference in premium can be significant.
“Certainly, significant enough to encourage consumers to provide inaccurate information about who the regular driver of a vehicle will be,” Wood says.
“Our office sees far too many claims being submitted where, for example, parents have represented that they will be the regular driver of a vehicle when in fact the vehicle was purchased by them for use by their child.
“Paying the lower premium is all well and good until a loss is suffered. Simple desk-top investigations using Facebook or other social media searches can all too easily reveal misrepresentations made by consumers who forget to cover their tracks when making misrepresentations to their insurance companies,” Wood adds.
Van Schalkwyk says, “Like all fraud, it’s only a matter to time until the perpetrators will be found out and could face prosecution. Starting out in a career with a criminal record is no way to build a future. I urge youth to stay on the right side of the law despite the many challenges of the current economic climate. Don’t put further obstacles in your path.”
South Africans are obtaining qualifications at a faster rate than the country’s economy is growing, according to South African Qualifications Authority data.
The proportion of South Africans getting qualifications has risen consistently by 4% year on year, but growth stagnated to 0.3% in 2016.
This means that there is a surplus of qualified people who cannot be absorbed into the mainstream economy.
The qualifications authority is able to assess trends and report on significant aspects of the education and training system by using the National Learners Records Database, an electronic record-keeping system.
The qualifications authority’s data analysis shows that higher education qualifications almost tripled between 1995 and 2014 from 70,020 to 202,653. The most popular fields of study were business, commerce and management studies, which constituted 29% of qualifications obtained in that period.
Education, training and development, and health sciences and social services qualifications were also popular. Women also showed improvements in the number of qualifications they achieved.
Nursing qualifications saw the biggest increase at 252%, having gone from 6,834 in 1995 to 24,028 in 2013. The South African Nursing Council estimated that, out of a population of more than 54-million people, SA had nursing manpower of 278,617 registered nurses.
Qualifications authority CEO Joe Samuels said: “It [data] shows us clearly what the areas of successful implementation are, but also points to areas that need our collective attention.”
By Michelle Gumede for www.businesslive.co.za
South Africa’s unemployment rose to its highest in 13 years in the third quarter, with manufacturing, mining and agriculture sectors all shedding jobs, the statistics agency said on Tuesday.
Africa’s most industrialised economy has grown lethargically over the last six years, making it hard to recoup the one million jobs lost during a 2008/9 recession.
The jobless rate rose to 27.1 percent of the labour force in the three months to September, from 26.6 percent in the second quarter, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday.
“Unemployment is the highest since 2003. The highest unemployment rate prior to 2003 was probably around 30 percent in 2000,” Statistician-General Pali Lehohla told a news conference.
The rand held its ground despite the gloomy jobs data, propped up by firmer metal prices which boosted commodity currencies. It traded at 14.0800/dollar by 1110 GMT, slightly off a session high of 14.0525 but still up 0.9 percent on the day.
Stats SA said 5.873 million people were without jobs in the third quarter, compared with 5.634 million previously.
“The sectors that are the real economy have generated negative growth, both quarter on quarter and year on year. Manufacturing mining and agriculture have all been losing jobs,” Lehohla said.
The manufacturing sector, which accounts for about 15 percent of gross domestic product, lost 28 000 jobs while mining lost 9 000.
The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, was slightly lower at 36.3 percent in the third quarter, from 36.4 percent in the second.
Employment levels have dropped in six of the nine provinces in the year to June‚ Statistics South Africa said on Thursday.
KwaZulu-Natal‚ Gauteng and North West recorded the largest decreases at 77‚000‚ 28‚000 and 25‚000 respectively.
Employment gains were recorded in Limpopo‚ Western Cape and Northern Cape (31‚000‚ 9‚000 and 6‚000 respectively) over the same period.
At city level‚ compared to a year ago‚ employment decreases were recorded in three metropolitan municipalities. These were: Ekurhuleni metropolitan which recorded the largest decrease at 29‚000‚ followed by Nelson Mandela Bay (23‚000) and Buffalo City (3‚000).
Annual employment gains were recorded in five metropolitans‚ with the largest increase in the City of Cape Town at 43‚000.
Overall‚ Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey showed that employment declined in the second quarter of 2016 by 129‚000 to 15‚5-million.
The quarterly decline in total employment was driven by job losses in Services‚ Agriculture‚ Transport and Mining.
Quarterly employment gains were observed in Manufacturing‚ Private households and Construction.
However‚ while Manufacturing created 67‚000 jobs quarter-to-quarter‚ Stats SA noted that the number of employed in this industry was lower compared to the same period last year (45‚000 or 2‚5%).
Formal sector employment declined for two successive quarters to 10‚9 million in Q2: 2016 but was still 0‚8% higher compared to the same period last year.
The informal sector contracted by 58‚000 or 2‚3% in Q2: 2016 – making it 5‚8% lower compared to the same period last year.
As to which jobs are shedding positions‚ Stats SA said that on a quarterly basis‚ employment decreased in six of the ten occupations in Q2: 2016.
The largest decreases were recorded in Sales & services (93‚000) and Plant & machine operator (70‚000) occupations. Over the same period‚ employment increased in four of the ten occupations; with the largest increases in Technician and Domestic worker occupations (56‚000 and 24‚000 respectively).
Year on year changes reflect employment decreases in six occupations‚ the largest decrease being recorded in Plant & machine operator (153‚000) occupations. In Q2: 2016‚ annual employment gains were recorded in four occupations – Professional (107‚000)‚ Manager (68‚000)‚ Technician (16‚000) and Domestic worker (7‚000).
In the first quarter of 2016, the formal non-agricultural sector of the South African economy shed 15 000 jobs in all sectors, except construction and community services, according to the Quarterly Employment Survey.
Employment therefore declined by 0,2% to 9,2-million people in the formal non-agricultural sector of the economy.
The Quarterly Employment Survey collects data from the mining, manufacturing, electricity and gas, construction, retail, business and community and personal services sector, and measures the level of employment and earnings per sector.
It should not be confused with the rate of employment reflected in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey.
Statistician-general Pali Lehohla released the latest figures on Monday, which showed that the largest percentage of job losses took place in the retail, hotel and restaurant sector.
In the retail trade sector, 27 000 jobs were lost, while 7 000 people were retrenched in the hotels and restaurants industry.
Employment in the mining sector contracted for the sixth consecutive quarter by 4 000 employees in the first quarter of 2016.
Finance and business services lost 9 000 jobs after employment rose by 42 000 in the last quarter of 2015.
There was also a 4% decline in earnings for the quarter ended March 2016 – from R545-billion to R523-billion.
These decreases were recorded in all industries, except the business services industry. Statistics SA ascribed the changes in gross earnings to the absence of bonuses and overtime that were paid to employees in the last quarter of 2015.
By Liesl Peyper for www.fin24.com