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South Africa Faces Rising Unemployment as Economy Sheds Jobs

by Central News Reporter
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Pretoria – The latest findings from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) have thrown South Africa’s mounting employment crisis into sharp relief, as recent data reveals a troubling dip in the number of employed persons alongside a spike in those without jobs. In a sobering briefing on Tuesday, Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke presented the grim figures showing a decrease in employment and a rise in unemployment for the fourth quarter of 2023.

According to the report by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), employment fell by 22,000, with total employment standing at 16.7 million for the quarter under review. Maluleke provided a stark overview: “The number of unemployed persons increased by 46,000 to 7.9 million compared to quarter three, while the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement surged by 218,000 to 13.4 million.”

In a disheartening trend for job-seekers, the official unemployment rate increased marginally from 31.9% in the third quarter to 32.1% in the fourth. Contributing to the bleak picture was the drop in formal sector employment by 128,000 jobs. Nevertheless, the informal sector experienced an increase of 124,000 positions, which might provide a slender silver lining amidst the general downturn.

The Statistician-General outlined the sectors hit hardest by job losses: “Community and social services, construction, agriculture, trade, and manufacturing have seen substantial job cuts, adversely affecting the labour market.” Conversely, promising employment gains were reported in the finance sector, with 128,000 new jobs, followed by transport, mining, and private households.

Provincial disparities in employment shifts were also highlighted. “We’ve witnessed job reductions in Eastern Cape, Limpopo, North West, and Northern Cape. On the flip side, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and Western Cape experienced growth in employment,” Maluleke stated.

Further amplifying concerns, the plight of young South Africans in the workforce was underscored with the youth unemployment rate climbing from 43.4% in Q3 to 44.3% in the quarter under review. “The total number of unemployed youth increased by 87,000 to 4.7 million, with a concurrent decrease of 97,000 in the number of employed youth,” Maluleke emphasized

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stats sa logo


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