Shock rise in SA unemployment as manufacturing bleeds jobs

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The official unemployment rate increased by 0.5% to 27.2% in the second quarter of 2018, up from 26.7% in the first three months of the year.

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for April, May and June in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The increase in the unemployment rate was due to a decline of 90 000 people in employment, as well as an increase of 102 000 people who became unemployed. Additionally, the number of discouraged job seekers rose to 2.9 million people, between the first and second quarters of 2018.

Manufacturing has lost 55 000 jobs year-on-year, and Maluleke said that basic metals and food production were the main drivers of the employment losses in the sector.

The industry hardest hit by job losses was manufacturing, with 105 000 people becoming unemployed in that sector in the second quarter. Community, social and services recorded a 93 000 jobs contraction, and 57 000 employment positions were cut in trade.

The transport sector accounted for the largest increase in jobs, with 54 000 new positions in the second quarter, while mining added 38 000, private households 22 000 and utilities increased by 18 000.

Of the 20.2 million South Africans aged 15 to 34 years, the number of young people not in employment, education and training (NEET) increased by 0.4% in the second quarter year-on-year.

This rate increased for black African males and white males. The female rates of NEET was recorded at over 40% among black African females aged 15 to 34 years old.

“Black women are the most vulnerable when it comes to unemployment,” Maluleke said.

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