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SA's unemployment rate rises slightly

South Africa's unemployment rate reached 32.6% in the first three months of 2021, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said.
SA's unemployment rate rises slightly
© Andriy Popov –

This was revealed in Stats SA’s Quarter Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released by Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke on Tuesday.

The data shows that the number of employed persons remained almost unchanged at 15 million. This was a slight decrease of 28,000 in the first of quarter 2021.

“The number of unemployed persons also remained almost unchanged at 7.2 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2020 (increased by 8,000).

“The number of discouraged work-seekers increased by 201,000 (6.9%), and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement, decreased by 38,000 (0.3%) between the two quarters, resulting in a net increase of 164,000 in the not economically active population,” the report reveals.

Maluleke said these minor changes resulted in the official unemployment rate increasing by 0.1 of a percentage point from 32.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 32.6% in the first quarter of 2021 - the highest since the start of the QLFS in 2008.

The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment, increased by 0.6 of a percentage point to 43.2% in Q1 2021, compared to Q4 2020.

The survey reveals that the official unemployment rate among youth (15-34 years) was 46.3% in Q1 2021.

“The rate was 9.3% among university graduates.

Maluleke said the formal sector employment increased by 79,000 while the other sectors experienced declines in employment in Q1 of 2021.

He said informal sector employment decreased by 19,000 (0.8%); private households by 70,000 (5.8%), and employment in Agriculture decreased by 18,000 (2.2%).

Some industries created jobs while others lost jobs between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, resulting in a net decline of 28,000 in total employment.

“Employment mainly increased in finance (up by 215,000) and other industries that had job gains include community and social services (16,000), utilities (16,000), mining (12,000) and manufacturing (7,000).

“Job losses were observed in construction (87,000), trade (84,000), private households (70,000), transport (40,000) and agriculture (18,000),” the QLFS revealed.

SOURCE is a South African government news service, published by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). (formerly BuaNews) was established to provide quick and easy access to articles and feature stories aimed at keeping the public informed about the implementation of government mandates.

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