- South Africa's official unemployment rate declined to 33.9% in the second quarter of 2022.
- According to the latest data, an estimated 648 000 jobs were gained between the first and the second quarter.
- Economists were expecting a rise in unemployment due to intensifying load shedding and the economic impact of devastating flooding in KwaZulu-Natal.
- Get the biggest business stories emailed to you every weekday, or go to the Fin24 front page.
The official unemployment rate declined further to 33.9% in the second quarter of 2022, from 34.5% in the first, Statistics SA reported on Tuesday. Unemployment hit a record high of 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Economists were expecting a rise in unemployment due to intensifying load shedding and the economic impact of devastating flooding in KwaZulu-Natal. A Bloomberg survey of five economists showed a median forecast of 35%.
Instead, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) shows that 648 000 jobs were created between the first and second quarter of 2022.
While there were job losses in manufacturing (-73 000) and transport (-54 000), job gains were seen in community and social services (+276 000), trade (+169 000), finance (+128 000) and construction (+104 000).
The total number of persons employed was 15.6 million in the second quarter of 2022, while the number of unemployed persons reached 8 million.
For the third quarter in a row, the expanded unemployment rate - which includes discouraged work seekers who have given up looking for work – declined. It fell from 45.5% to 44.1%.
The QLFS has faced some scrutiny in recent months, amid growing concern about the reliability of South Africa’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.
Fin24 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.