SA's unemployment stats could be wrong, say experts

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Job seekers wait for casual work offers from passing motorists in Joburg South.
Job seekers wait for casual work offers from passing motorists in Joburg South.
Siphiwe Sibeko/Gallo Images

The head of the Statistics Council, the advisory board to Statistics SA, has raised the alarm on the quality of SA’s employment statistics, saying the poor response rate must be reversed if the numbers are to be worth anything. 

The last Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), which was for the fourth quarter of last year revealed, on the narrow definition, that 35.3% of adults were unemployed. This is a record high since the survey began in 2008. Several economists have questioned the numbers who argue that the survey does not provide an accurate picture of the country.

Of the sample of 30 000 households, the response rate hit a record low, with only 44.6% of the sample participating in the survey. In Gauteng, only 23% of respondents replied, with the response rate in the city of Johannesburg at 17.9%. The response rate led to a delay in the publication of the results and some results – such as those for the metros – were excluded from publication.

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