SA Unemployment Rate Hits Worst Since 2003: 5 Depressing Facts You Don’t Want To Know


Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has published the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for 2017 and, its content is depressing.

Well, South Africans have always known joblessness is thriving in their country. Nonetheless, the 2017 1st Quarter labour force survey will destroy a major chunk of hope (if there’s any) about bringing unemployment to a minimal level in the country.

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Below are some depressing facts about SA unemployment rate.

Fact 1 – SA Unemployment Rate Is At Its Worst Since 2003

As it is, the growth in employment by 144 000, was offset by the growth in the number of job-seekers by 433 000.

That, accelerated SA unemployment rate to 27.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

 According to Stats SA, it is “the highest unemployment rate observed since September 2003.”

Fact 2 – Majority of the Unemployed are Young

Yea, 433 000 South Africans attained the unemployed status. Out of that figure, about 58 percent are young South Africans aged 15-34.

This ensured an increase in the youth unemployment rate of the country. It climbed by 1.6 percent to 38.6 percent.

Also, the survey revealed that the proportion of those in short-term unemployment, that is, those who have been looking for work for less than a year, climbed by 2.4 percent to 34.2 percent.

Stats SA said it’s “a further indication that these were young people who joined the labour force at the beginning of the year.”

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Fact 3 – Joblessness is Common Among the Less-educated

While the unemployment rate among graduates is at 7.3 percent, joblessness was observed as high among those with an education level of less than matric at 33.1 percent.

Joblessness is not just common among the less-educated, it is by 5.4 percent, higher than the national average.

Fact 4 – It’s Worst In Eastern Cape

The labour force survey showed that the Eastern Cape is the worst hit by the climb in the rate of unemployment.

As stipulated by Stats SA, “unemployment rate increased or remained virtually unchanged in all provinces except Northern Cape.

“The biggest increase in unemployment rate was observed in Eastern Cape which increased by 3.8 percentage points to 32.2 percent.”

Northern Cape recorded 1.3 percent decrease in its official unemployment rate.

Fact 5 – More Jobless South Africans aren’t Searching for Jobs

It’s said that expanded unemployment which includes those who wanted to work but did not look for work increased by 391 000.

That, triggered a 0.8 percent increase in the expanded unemployment rate which is now at 36.4 percent. “This is approximately 9.3 million persons who did not have work but wanted to work,” Stats SA stated.

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The Good News About SA Unemployment Rate

It’s not ugly all through. The survey showed that growth in employment was observed in all industries except Agriculture, trade and services.

From our gatherings, the biggest growth was observed in Manufacturing, Mining, Finance and other business services.

Also, employment grew in all provinces quarter to quarter except in Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

Similarly, all metros experienced growth in employment except Nelson Mandela Bay, Mangaung and the City of Johannesburg.

Generally, there were about 500 000 extra people in employment in the 1st Quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

Stats SA said the year-on-year employment growth was driven by the manufacturing, construction and finance industry.