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Monday, March 27, 2023

South Africa Jobless Rate Hits Record 32.6% in Q1

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The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released by Stats SA on Tuesday showed the jobless rate increased by 0.1 of a percentage point from the 32.5 percent recorded in the final quarter of 2020, climbing to the highest level since the report was introduced 13 years ago.

While the first-quarter jobless rate was slightly lower than the 33.4 percent predicted by the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey conducted prior to the release of the data, it still showed the economy was battling to create jobs.

The data shows the Africa’s 2 largest economy Nigeria and South Africa now have some of the highest unemployment rates on record.

Nigeria’s unemployment rate hit a high of 33 percent in the three months through December, according to the most recent jobs report published by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The South African jobless numbers reflect an economy still greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns of 2020, with many capable workers still inactive.

Compared to a year ago – before the pandemic hit – total employment decreased by 1.4 million. The number of unemployed persons increased by 2.4% (172,000), while the number of persons who were not economically active increased by 11.6% (1.8 million).

A million and a half of these individuals are in the “other” category, used to house those who lost their jobs due to pandemic or lockdown-related circumstances.

The largest employment decreases were observed in private households (70,000), followed by the informal sector (19,000), and the agricultural sector (18,000) in Q1: 2021.

Employment increases were only observed in the formal sector (79,000).

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