South Africa's unemployment rate has risen to 29% during the second quarter of 2019, according to figures released by Statistician General Risenga Maluleke.
The latest unemployment statistics are the highest since 2008, said Maluleke, while releasing the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) – Q2; 2019.
“The other time that it had been higher that this – 29.3% - was in March 2003 when we were not yet in the QLFS,” he said.
South Africa has a working age population of 38.4 million, between the ages of 15 and 64. Of these 16.3 million were employed, 6.7 million unemployed, while 12.7 million were not economically active.
During the second quarter, unemployed rose by 1.4 percentage points to 29% compared to the first quarter of 2019.
“The number of unemployed persons increased by 455,000 to 6.7 million in Q2: 2019. This was in comparison to 476,000 increase experienced in Q1: 2019,” Statistics South Africa said.
The South African working-age population increased by 150,000 during this period.
The report reveals that the number of discouraged work-seekers decreased by 248,000 and the other not economically active population by 77,000, resulting in the net decrease of 326,000 in the number of those who were not economically active.
Employment in the formal sector and private households declined by 49,000 each. The informal sector and agriculture on the other hand recorded increases of 114,000 and 5000, respectively.
“An increase of 21,000 in the number of people in employment in the second quarter of 2019 was mainly driven by Trade (84,000), community and social services (48,000), construction (24,000) and manufacturing (9,000). However, employment losses were recorded in private households (49,000), transport (42,000), mining (36,000) and finance and other business services (21,000).
There were approximately 10.3 million persons aged 15-24 years in Q2:2019. The percentage of young persons aged 15-24 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) decreased by 0.9 of a percentage point to 32.3% (3.3 million) compared to Q1. Of the 20.4 million young people aged 15-34 years, 40.3% were not in employment, education or training (NEET) - a decrease of 0.3 percentage points.