Drought Is Beginning To Contribute To Unemployment In SA


The unemployment rate in South Africa has declined rapidly by a percentage point in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 24.5% of the country’s population.  This means that‚ compared to the previous quarter‚ 190‚000 more South Africans were employed, but the impact of the drought has cost the country a total of 37,000 job losses in the the agricultural sector.

See Also: Unemployment Rate In SA Nosedives By 24.5%

In November last year, KZN‚ Mpumalanga‚ the North West‚ Limpopo and the Free State were all declared drought disaster areas.

Statistician general Pali Lehol said that agriculture had shed 37‚000 jobs mostly because of a rapid decline in growing crops and mixed farming (crops and animals).

Lehol said that due to the scarcity of agricultural products, the manufacturing sector suffered a loss of 36‚000 in the numbers of people employed in manufacturing. This problem was mostly caused by a decline in the manufacture of food products‚ grain mill‚ starches and starch products and animal feeds.

The city with the highest agricultural job losses is the Western Cape where 31‚000 jobs were lost followed by Limpopo where 19‚000 jobs were lost. The Free State shed 1‚000 jobs while Mpumalanga shed 4‚000.

These numbers were offset by slight growth in agricultural job creation in the Northern Cape (9‚000)‚ KZN (6‚000)‚ North West (2‚000)‚ and the Eastern Cape and Gauteng 1‚000 respectively.

See Also: ‘Drought Knows No Colour’ Says Water Minister

The statistics derived shows that the agricultural sector accounted for 5.4% of total jobs in the sector‚ contributing 2.2% to the GDP.

In Brazil and India‚ the decline in unemployment rate was encouraged by the agricultural industry which accounted for 14.4% of jobs in Brazil and 51.1% of jobs in India said Lehol.

Meanwhile‚ the youth unemployment rate in SA continued to exceed the national rate‚ with 34.9% of the youths unemployed in the quarter, graduates recorded 5.1%‚ compared with 28.5% for those who have not completed matric.