Unemployment figures rise to 25.5%

Cape Town - South Africa's unemployment rate has increased to 25.5% in the third quarter of 2015, Statistics SA announced on Tuesday.

This is up by 0.5 of a percentage point from the second quarter rate of 25%, but is still an improvement from the first quarter rate of 26.4%.

The number of unemployed people increased by 188 000 in the third quarter, compared to the second quarter.

Of the working-age population of 36.1 million, 15.8 million were employed, 5.4 million were unemployed and 14.9 million were not economically active, thus resulting in an unemployment rate of 25.5%, an absorption rate of 43.8% and a labour force participation rate of 58.8%, Stats SA revealed in its quarterly labour force survey. 

The formal sector accounted for the largest share of employment at 69.1%, while Agriculture accounted for the lowest share (5.7%).

Discouraged work-seekers accounted for 15% of the not economically active population, while the share of other (not economically active) was 85%.

The results for the third quarter of 2015 reflect a quarterly decrease in the not economically active population (200 000) and a quarterly increase in the economically active population (359 000).

South Africa's official unemployment rate increased by 0.5 of a percentage point in the third quarter of 2015, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday morning.

The 25.5% unemployment rate is a far cry from the 6% that the country wishes to achieve by 2030, according to the National Development Plan (NDP).

The absorption rate is also far off the NDP goal at 43.8%, compared to its aim of 61% absorption rate.

In the third quarter, the absorption rate was lowest among youth aged between 15 and 24, while it was highest among adults aged between 34 and 64.

The highest share of the employed population with tertiary qualifications is found among the white and Indian population groups. "In the third quarter, 48.6% of employed white people and 33.8% employed Indians had a tertiary qualification," Stats SA explained. "More than half of the black African and coloured populations had an educational level of less than matric."

Six of South Africa's nine provinces recorded increases in unemployment, according to Stats SA.

The survey is a household-based stample survey that collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged between 15 and 64.

Northern Cape (2.1%) and Gauteng (1.8 %) had the highest increases in unemployment, on a quarter to quarter basis. Only Western Cape (-1.1%), Mpumalanga (-1%) and Limpopo (-0.1%) recorded decreases in unemployment in the third quarter.

Speaking at the release of the figures in Pretoria, Stats SA deputy director-general Kefiloe Masiteng said the decrease in the Western Cape could be due to the seasonally of the agricultural activities in the province.

Responding to the unemployment rate increase, Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier accused the African National Congress of being in "an economic cul-de-sac as our country’s job crisis continues to spiral out of control".

"We can only stop the job shedding if we provide incentive for the private sector to invest so that we can grow the economy and create jobs for the millions of South Africans trapped in unemployment," he said.

"Every South African must be afforded the opportunity to find a job, which brings with it freedom, dignity, independence, and an opportunity to better one’s life."

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