SA's unemployment rate decreases to 32,6% in the second quarter of 2023

Employment numbers improved slightly in South Africa in the second quarter of this year, that’s between April to June.

Statistics South Africa released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) on Tuesday, which is a household-based sample survey conducted by Stats SA. It collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years and older who live in South Africa. However, this report only covers labour market activities of persons aged between 15–64 years.

PICTURE: Pixabay

Employment increased by 154 000 in the second quarter following an increase of 258 000 in the first quarter of this year. StatsSA says employment has been fluctuating in the second quarters of each year since 2017, with increases observed in 2019, 2022 and 2023 while other years experienced decreases.

The data company says the results further confirm that this was the seventh consecutive increase in employment since the fourth quarter of 2021

‘’The results of the QLFS indicate that the number of employed persons increased by 154 000 to 16,3 million in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2023,’’ said Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General of South Africa.

The number of unemployed persons also dropped by 11,000 to 7.9 million during the period. This resulted in the official unemployment rate declining by 0.3% from 32.9% in the first quarter to 32.6% in the second quarter of 2023.

Unemployed persons according to the Official definition are those (aged 15–64 years) who: Were not employed in the reference week; and Actively looked for work or tried to start a business in the four weeks preceding the survey interview; and Were available for work, i.e. would have been able to start work or a business in the reference week; or Had not actively looked for work

‘’The number of unemployed persons decreased by 11 000 to 7,9 million during the same quarter. Additionally, the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 93 000 to 13,3 million. The discouraged work-seekers decreased by 94 000 in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2023 resulting in a net decrease of 1 000 in the not economically active population.’’

Maluleka further broke down the formal and informal sector

‘’The formal sector employment increased by 143 000 in Q2: 2023 and informal sector employment decreased by 33 000 over the same period. The following industries Construction (104 000), Trade (92 000), and Community and Social Services (63 000) recorded the largest employment gains. While employment losses were recorded in Manufacturing (96 000), Finance (68 000), Transport (7 000) and Utilities (6 000).’’

Provincially, the number of employed persons increased in seven provinces between the first and second quarter of 2023.

Limpopo (up by 80 000), Western Cape (up by 54 000) and KwaZulu-Natal (up by 48 000) recorded the largest employment increases in Q2:2023. Employment losses were recorded in Free State (down by 59 000) and Northern Cape (down by 17 000) during the same period.’’

Although the youth are still incredibly vulnerable in the labour market, the number of unemployed youth aged 15 to 34 decreased, but 4,7 million of South African youth are still jobless

The youth remain vulnerable in the labour market, with the second quarter of 2023 results showing that the total number of unemployed youth (15-34 years) decreased by 131 000 to 4,7 million while there was an increase of 105 000 in the number of employed youth to 5,7 million during the same period. This resulted in a decrease in youth unemployment rate by 1,1 percentage points to 45,3% in Q2:2023,’’ said Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General of South Africa.

According to StatsSA, the majority of employees had permanent employment contracts. Between the first and the second quarters of 2023, the number of employees increased among those with contracts of limited duration (167 000) and contracts of a permanent nature (24 000) while those with contracts of an unspecified duration decreased by 5 000.

Let’s hone in on the Western Cape now, and 368 000 jobs were created in the province, between the second quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2023. That is a 15.7% increase in employed people year-on-year, well ahead of all other provinces

Between quarter one and quarter two of this year, 54 000 jobs were created in the Western Cape. The Western Cape also recorded the largest decrease in the unemployment rate, down by 6,6% compared to the same period in 2022. The expanded unemployment rate decreased by 6% between the second quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2023.

Western Cape’s unemployment rate stands at 20.9%, Expanded unemployment rate stands at 25.3%, Absorption rate, which is the percentage of employed working-age population is at 54.4%, Labour force participation rate at 68.8%

Out of the 4 million 978 thousand people in the Western Cape, 2 million 711 are employed, 715 thousand are unemployed, 1 million 552 people are Not economically active, and 105 thousand are Discouraged work-seekers

In terms of the metro and Cape Town has added 263 000 new jobs over the last year, and 56 000 new jobs in the last quarter alone, more than all other metros combined.

The metro’s unemployment rate fell by 7% year-on-year, down a further 1,7% since the last quarter based on the expanded unemployment definition, which offers the most complete estimate.


For Bush Radio News, I’m Mitchum George




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