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Friday, February 23, 2024

Employment rate recovers to pre-Covid levels

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Nearly 400,000 South Africans have received some good news ahead of Christmas, with more people now in employment.


Statistics South Africa says the country’s unemployment rate dropped by 0,7%, quarter-on-quarter. The unemployment rate now stands at 31,9%.


This is the 8th consecutive quarter that unemployment has decreased. 16,7 million people are now employed in the country, which is higher than the 16,4 million recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic.


The number of unemployed persons also decreased by 72 000 to 7,8 million during the same quarter.


Additionally, the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 160 000 to 13,1 million, while the discouraged work-seekers decreased by 26 000 in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the second quarter of 2023.


This resulted in a net decrease of 186 000 in the not economically active population.


The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition decreased by 0,9 of a percentage point to 41,2%.


The sectors that created the most jobs include:


  • Finance (up by 237 000)
  • Community and Social Services (up by 119 000)
  • Agriculture (up by 61 000)


Employment losses were recorded in Manufacturing (down by 50 000), Mining (down by 35 000), Transport (down by 20 000) and Utilities (down by 16 000).


Meanwhile, Premier Alan Winde and MEC of Finance and Economic Opportunities Mireille Wenger, has lauded the results, which show that yet again, the Western Cape created the most jobs and still has the lowest unemployment rate in the country.


The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), shows that, in the Western Cape, jobs are up and unemployment is down:

• Employment is up by 22 000 jobs or by 0,8% quarter-on-quarter;
• Employment is up by 305 000 jobs or by 12,6%, year-on-year;
• The highest number of jobs created in South Africa between quarter 3 of 2022 and quarter 3 of 2023 were in the Western Cape;
• Unemployment is down, on the official definition, by 0,7 percentage points quarter-on-quarter;
• Unemployment is down, on the official definition, by 4,3 percentage points, year-on-year – which is the biggest decrease in South Africa; and
• On the expanded definition, the unemployment rate is down by ,.9 percentage points, year-on-year.


Winde says the statistics show what is capable through good and stable governance.


“In terms of the official unemployment rate, we are at 20,2% in Q3 of 2023. This is a significant 11,7% lower than South Africa’s official unemployment rate (of 31,9%) in the same quarter. This is still worryingly high, especially for younger job seekers who are a particular priority for this government, but these figures are showing that a different trajectory for this country is possible. In terms of the expanded unemployment rate, we are at 25,6%, a total of 15,6% lower than South Africa’s expanded unemployment rate (41,2%) in the same quarter.”


Wenger says she is proud of the results, but says hard work lies ahead.


“We know that jobs bring dignity and hope to people and their families. As government, it is our role to make it as easy as possible for the private sector to do what it does best – create jobs and grow their businesses to create many more. Today, we have seen the impact that our clear and decisive economic action plan, called ‘Growth for Jobs’ is having on our economy. Together, we can build a R1 trillion economy that is growing by between 4% and 6% by 2035 and spread more hope and prosperity across the length and breadth of this wonderful province – and our country too.”



Liesl Smit
Liesl Smit
Liesl is the Smile 90.4FM News Manager. She has been at Smile since 2016, with nearly 20 years experience in the radio industry, including reading news, field reporting and producing. In 2008 she won the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award, Western Cape region. liesl@smile904.fm

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