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SA’s unemployment rate hits new record at 32.6% in Q1 2021

Wednesday, 02 June 2021 14:01
SA’s unemployment rate hits new record at 32.6% in Q1 2021

(Ecofin Agency) - The unemployment rate in South Africa has reached a new record at 32.6% over the first three months this year. During the previous quarter, the rate was 32.5%. Figures were revealed yesterday June 1 by the national stats agency.

The number of employed persons decreased by 28,000 to 15 million in Q1 2021, while the number of unemployed persons increased by 8,000 to 7.2 million compared to Q4 2020, resulting in a decrease of 20,000 (down by 0.1%) in the number of people in the labor force,” the institution says.

This increase in the jobless rate, the highest since 2008, is explained by the loss of many jobs in several sectors of the economy. The economic challenges faced by the country, compounded by the covid-19 pandemic, have harmed the country's employment policy.

The Covid-induced restrictions have led to salary cuts, and job losses when some companies were forced to close due to low activity. In addition, the slow rollout of vaccination campaigns has contributed to the slowdown in economic recovery.

The hardest-hit sectors were construction, with a loss of 87,000 jobs, trade with 84,000 jobs lost, domestic services with 70,000 jobs lost, and transportation with a loss of 40,000 jobs. These losses were more or less balanced by strong job gains in sectors such as finance (215,000 jobs), utilities (16,000), community and social services (16,000), and mining (12,000 jobs).

In addition, there was a net increase of 164,000 in the non-labor force. An estimated 201,000 more people reported being discouraged from seeking work in the first three months of 2021 than in the previous quarter, and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 8,000.

Beyond the pandemic and the country's economic situation, it should be noted that the South African workplace was already suffering from difficulties related to the inadequacy of the learning system to meet real needs and the lack of flexibility of the legislation in this area.

Carine Sossoukpè (intern)

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