Unemployment rate at 29.1%, 11-year high

Unemployment in SA is at an 11-year high Picture: Supplied
Unemployment in SA is at an 11-year high Picture: Supplied

South Africa’s unemployment rate stood at 29.1% in the third quarter versus 29% in the previous quarter, remaining at its highest level in more than a decade, official data showed on Tuesday.

There were 6.7 million people without jobs in the three months to September 30, unchanged from the prior quarter, Statistics South Africa said its quarterly labour force survey.

It was the highest jobless rate since the survey started in 2008, statistician-general Risenga Maluleke said.

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, was 38.5%, unchanged from the previous quarter.

According to Stats SA, the number of unemployed people in South Africa increased from 4.5 million in the third quarter of 2009 to 6.7 million in the third quarter of 2019 and those in long-term unemployment increased from 60.3% to 70.9% for the same period.

Black African women remain the most vulnerable with an unemployment rate of more than 30%. This is followed by Coloureds & Indians/Asians with a rate of 23,7% & 18,2% respectively.

The number of employed people increased by 62 000 in the third quarter of 2019 to 16.4 million with the working age population (15 to 64 years) sitting at 38.6 million.

Stats SA said employment in the informal sector decreased by 53 000 persons in the third-quarter compared to the second quarter.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is expected to deliver the medium-term budget speech on Wednesday.

The country is expecting a concerted effort from the minister to addressing the high unemployment levels in the country.

According to marketing and social research consultancy Citizens Survey: “South Africans are concerned about Eskom and unemployment, and therefore it is likely that Mboweni will address this in his speech.”

The power utility started implementing stage two load shedding recently, as a result of “shortage of capacity”.

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