South African unemployment surges

Staff Writer | May 14, 2019
Rise in joblessness delivers blow to government economic recovery ambitions.

Data released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) shows that unemployment surged in the year to the end of March 2019. 

According to StatsSA, the number of people with jobs fell by 86 000 over the year and the number of formal sector jobs fell by 135 000. The number of not economically active people grew by 470 000 and the number of discouraged work seekers by 210 000. 

The numbers meant that South Africa’s official unemployment rate increased from 26.7% to 27.6%. On the expanded definition the rate increased from 36.7% to 38%. The labour market absorption rate declined from 43.5% to 42.6% and the participation rate from 59.3% to 58.8%. The latter indicator suggests that significant numbers of people stopped seeking work as they knew they were unlikely to find any. 

South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world and the crisis is exacerbated by draconian labour market regulations and government-enforced racial investment edicts that deter capital formation and reduce the country’s domestic competitiveness.    


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