Colleta Dewa in Johannesburg
South Africa’s unemployment rate has increased by a shocking 0.5% to 27.2% in the second quarter of 2018, up from 26.7% in the first three months of the year.
The figures were released by Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The released Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) quarterly labour force survey indicated that the increase in the unemployment rate was due to a decline of 90 000 people in employment, as well as an increase of 102 000 people who became unemployed.
The figures also indicated that the number of discouraged job seekers rose to 2.9 million people, between the first and second quarters of 2018.
The industry hardest hit by job losses was manufacturing, with 105 000 people becoming unemployed in that sector in the second quarter.
Maluleke said that basic metals and food production were the main drivers of the employment losses in the manufacturing sector.
Community, social and services recorded a 93 000 jobs contraction, and 57 000 employment positions were cut in trade.
The transport sector, however, recorded 54 000 increase in employment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday acknowledged that the unemployment figures were quite worrying, adding that his government would move with urgency to develop and implement a stimulus package to ignite economic growth.
He said the measures will, among others, include increasing investment in public infrastructure.
“This stimulus package will be based on existing budgetary resources and the pursuit of new investments, while remaining committed to fiscal prudence,” he said.
The statistics offices indicated that black women were the most affected group in terms of unemployment.
“Female Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) rate was higher than that of their male counterparts for all population groups. In Q2: 2017 and Q2: 2018 the highest (NEET) rate of over 40% was recorded among black African females aged 15–34 years,” said the organisation.
Data by province
Free State was the most affected province recording up by 1.6 percentage points of unemployment, followed by Gauteng whose unemployment rate went up by 1.1 percentage points. The Western Cape was up by 1.0 percentage point.
A decline in official unemployment rates were recorded in Eastern Cape down by 1.4 percentage points, Northern Cape down by 0.6 of a percentage point, Limpopo down by 0.6 of a percentage point and KwaZulu-Natal down by 0.5 of a percentage point.