The unemployment rate in South Africa rose from 30.8% in Q3 2020 to 32.5% the following quarter, making an increase of 10.7% over the period.
In its quarterly labor force survey released yesterday, the department of statistics (Stats SA) found that the number of jobless people rose from 6.5 million in Q3 2020 to 7.2 million by the end of the fourth quarter. A situation exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced many business sectors to close and others to slow down.
The report however points out that while the unemployment rate has increased, the number of employed people has also increased. “The number of employed persons increased by 333,000 to 15.0 million in Q4 2020, and the number of unemployed persons also increased by 701,000 to 7.2 million compared to Q3 2020, resulting in an increase of 1.0 million (up by 4.9%) in the number of new people in the labor force,” the document reads.
This is because while the number of employed people increased, the number of the working-age population who are unemployed or who have lost their jobs also increased significantly. Similarly, the number of people who gave up finding a job also contributed to the increase in the unemployment rate.
According to Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General at StatsSA, the proportion of working-age people relative to the proportion of people who are employed is growing, which means that the market is not creating enough jobs for job seekers.
Compared to 2019, the number of unemployed people in South Africa is currently up 7.5%; the unemployment rate is up 3.4% while the total number of jobs has decreased by 1.4 million.