34.4% of SA’s labour force is unemployed

By Robin-Lee Francke for IOL

The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the second quarter of 2021 has been released by Statistics South Africa and it paints a grim picture.

The household-based sample survey collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years and older who live in South Africa.

However, this report only covers labour market activities of persons aged 15 to 64 years.

The report revealed a new record high of 34.4% of the labour force in South Africa as being unemployed.

The number of employed persons decreased by 54 000 in the second quarter to 14.9-million.

The number of unemployed persons increased by 584 000 to 7.8 million compared with the first quarter of 2021.

The report also revealed that the number of discouraged work seekers increased by 5.9% (186,000 people) and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 4.5% (571 000 people).

Stats SA said that between the two quarters of 2021 there was a net decrease of 386 000 people not economically active within the population.

It said the changes in the second quarter resulted in the official unemployment rate increasing by 1.8 percentage points from 32.6% in the first quarter of 2021 to 34.4% in the second quarter of 2021.

Stats SA said this was the highest since the start of the QLFS in 2008.

It said the unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment increased by 1.2 percentage points to 44.4% in the second quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter.

While only employment decreases were observed in the formal sector, employment gains were reported in the informal sector with an increase of 184 000 in total.

The agricultural sector saw an increase of 69 000 jobs and private households 67 000 jobs.


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