Slow growth means unemployment rate won’t change

2013-08-27 16:12

The high rate of unemployment will continue into the foreseeable future as South Africa’s economic growth fails to create enough jobs while most available do not meet “decent work” standards, a report by the department of labour has warned.

The report titled Job Opportunities in the South African Labour Market 2012-2013 was released today.

According to the report, white people, who have enjoyed low unemployment rates, have also not fared well in the job market as unemployment increased in this population group by 1.6% in the past year.

The report also found that found that 65.3% of the 4.6 million unemployed people were long-term jobseekers who had been looking for work for over a year.

“On one hand, this might be as a result of people who are looking for employment lacking certain required skills and experience, but on the other hand this might also be as a result of the economy of the country that does not have enough employment opportunities to cater for everyone looking for employment, as close to two-thirds (59.4%) of the jobseekers did not have matric,” said the report.

The report also speculated that companies were unwilling to hire school leavers “because they need training to build skills and once trained at some expense the skilled workers may leave for other jobs”.

The unemployment rates for Indian and coloured people decreased 0.7% and 0.2%, respectively.

Only 44 000 jobs were created between the first and the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, representing an increase of 0.3% between the two quarters, said the report.

“Although the 0.9% GDP increase was recorded in the first quarter of 2013, it was not high enough to support the overall employment and development targets as outlined in the National Development Plan.”

In a statement, the department said the latest figures “prove the belief that the economy is not creating enough jobs and there are also concerns about the quality of the jobs being created recently”.

It expressed concern about the quality of jobs that had recently been created, pointing to these jobs as not conforming to “decent work” policies.

“More and more economically active people are becoming discouraged and leaving the labour market altogether, which could have lasting devastating effects, especially among youth and women,” warned the department.

The report has also sounded warning bells about youth unemployment which stands at 52.9% for people between 15 and 24 years old.

This group remains the highest among all age groups and has been on the increase.

“Statistical data also reflect that there is a lot that needs to be done in as far as gender equality is concerned as 49.1% of the unemployed are women,” said the report.

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