South Africa is in a high unemployment state, statistician-general Pali Lehohla has said.
“The story line in South Africa is that we are in a high unemployment state, over a very long period of time from 2008, and we can go back to 2001,” he said at the release of Stats SA’s 2014 third-quarter labour-force survey in Pretoria.
“We have been swimming in that state for quite some time. Those who are in nonpermanent employment are really vulnerable ... When you don’t work you lose skills and you lose capacity to perform, and then you become less employable.”
Those who did not work faced a downward cycle and as a result of not working were feeling the creeping effects of poverty.
Out of a working population of 35.5 million people, aged between 15 and 64, 20.3 million formed the labour force. About 15.2 million people were not economically active, of which 2.5 million were discouraged job seekers.
About 15 million people had jobs in South Africa in the third quarter of 2014, and 5.2 million were unemployed.
Of the 15 million employed, 10.8 million were employed in the formal sector and 2.4 million in the informal sector. About 670 000 people were employed in the agricultural sector and 1.3 million were employed in private households.
Of the working-age population, 27.8% of women were officially unemployed, a 0.3% decrease from the second quarter of 2014, and 23.4% of men were officially unemployed.
Unemployed people were those aged 15 to 64 years of age actively looking for work or who tried starting a business in the weeks preceding Stats SA’s survey.
When using the expanded unemployment rate, 39.9% of women and 32.3% of men were unemployed.
The expanded unemployment rate included those no longer actively searching for work.