SA unemployment rate jumps to 29%, the worst since 2008

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SA's official unemployment rate jumped to 29% in the second quarter of the year, the highest jobless rate since the start of 2008.

The unemployment figures were published by Stats SA on Tuesday morning. 

The country's unemployment rate was 27.6% in the first quarter of 2019, meaning the rate has increased by 1.4 percentage points.  

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter, there are 6.7 million unemployed people in South Africa between the ages of 15 and 64 years. 

Key takeaways 

  • The total labour force - or all people who are employed and/or actively seeking work - increased by 476 000 to 23 million.
  • The total number of people who are not economically active is 15.5 million. Of these, some 2.7 million are discouraged work seekers.
  • The working age population - or all those aged between 15 years and 64 years - increased by 150 000 in the second quarter to 38.4 million.
  • Out of a total of 10.3 million young people aged between 15 and 24 years, the number who are not in employment, not in education and not in training decreased slightly to about 3.3 million. The unemployment rate for the youth is 56.4%. "Young people, regardless of their education level, remain vulnerable to labour markets, " said Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke. 
  • South Africans with less than matric have an unemployment rate of 34.5%. Those with matric have an unemployment rate of 29.4%. Graduates have an unemployment rate of 9% while those with other tertiary qualifications have an unemployment rate of 18.3%.
  • Employment in the formal sector and in private households declined by 49 000.
  • However, employment in the informal sector increased by 114 000, and in agriculture, by 5 000.
  • Employment losses were recorded in private households, transport, mining, finance and other business services.
  • Jobs growth of 21 000 was mainly driven by the trade, community and social services, construction and manufacturing industries.
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