Good news as SA's unemployment rate improves

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Siphiwe Sibeko/Gallo

The official unemployment rate declined further to 32.9% in the third quarter of 2022, from 33.9% in the second, Statistics SA reported on Tuesday.

Unemployment hit a record high of 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) shows that 204 000 jobs were gained between the second and third quarter of 2022. 

The largest job gains were in manufacturing (+123 000), trade (+82 000), construction (+46 000) and transport (+33 000).

Job losses were however recorded in the finance sector (-80 000), private households (-36 000) and mining and agriculture (-1 000).

The expanded unemployment rate - which includes discouraged job seekers who have given up looking for work - decreased to 43.1% from 44.1% in the second quarter.

unemployment
SA unemployment. Picture StatsSA

The QLFS has faced some scrutiny in recent months, amid growing concern about the reliability of SA’s employment data.

READ | SA's unemployment stats could be wrong, say experts

Statistics SA is meant to collect data on the employment status of 33 000 households – which is extrapolated to determine the jobless rates for around 40 million adults in the country. However, last year it contacted fewer than 14 300 households. The interviews were done telephonically - not face-to-face as before the pandemic.

At the start of this year, however, in-person interviews resumed. 

News24 previously reported that the head of the Statistics Council, the advisory board to Statistics SA, raised the alarm about the quality of the unemployment data.

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