Statistics South Africa’s (StatsSA) latest figures, showing a decrease in unemployment have been broadly welcome, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), however, said there was no hope of reducing unemployment from the current high numbers.

By Tshawe lama Tshawe

According to StatsSA quarterly labour force survey (QLFS) numbers released on Tuesday, the unemployment rate for the third quarter of the year has eased by almost a percentage point to 31.9% – compared to the previous quarter.

However, Saftu has pointed out that in spite of the new figures from StatsSA, unemployment is still “disproportionately high, despite the minor increase in jobs’ ‘.

Saftu national spokesperson Trevor Shaku said the union federation welcomes the increases recorded over the eight quarters, but the numbers are low and present no hope of reducing unemployment from the current highs.

“Expanded unemployment, which we recognise as the true measure of unemployment – that include those (people) who have given up looking because it is fruitless – declined from 42.1% in the second quarter to 41.2% in the third quarter of 2023.

“The ‘narrow’ official unemployment rate declined from 32.6% in the second quarter to 31.9% in the third quarter.

“In the last decade, unemployment has increased significantly, by the narrow definition of five million people since 2013 – to 7.8 million,’ said Shaku.

However Adriaan Pas, CIO of PSG Wealth, said the decrease in unemployment is a positive development, given the current tough economic backdrop.

“The decrease is also in line with our previous comment that although the pandemic lasted far longer than anticipated, we expected the employment situation to stabilise at pre-pandemic levels this year.

“The next SA unemployment rate release date is scheduled for Tuesday, 20 February 2024.”

Stats SA in a statement reported the results of the QLFS indicate that the number of employed persons increased by 399 000 to 16.7 million in the third quarter of 2023 – compared to 16,3 million in the second quarter of 2023.

The number of unemployed persons decreased by 72 000 to 7.8 million during the same quarter. Additionally, the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement, decreased by 160 000 to 13.1 million – while the discouraged work-seekers decreased by 26 000 in the third quarter of 2023 – compared to the second quarter of 2023.

“This resulted in a net decrease of 186 000 in the not economically active population and a decrease by 0,7% of a percentage point from 32,6% in the second quarter of 2023 – to 31.9% in the third quarter of 2023 in the official unemployment rate.

“The unemployment rate decreased by 0.9 of a percentage point to 41.2% in Q3:2023 compared to Q2:2023.

“Formal sector employment increased by 287 000 in Q3:2023 and informal sector employment increased by 29 000 over the same period.”

StatsSA said the youth remained “vulnerable in the labour market”.

“However, the third quarter of 2023 results show that the total number of unemployed youth (15–34 years) decreased by 174 000 to 4.6 million – while there was an increase of 237 000 in the number of employed youths to 6,0 million.

“This resulted in a decrease in the youth unemployment rate by 1.9 percentage points from 45.3% in Q2:2023 to 43.4% in Q3:2023.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *