Figures released by Statistics South Africa indicate that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 29.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The results further indicate that the number of employed persons increased to 16.4-million, while the number of unemployed persons decreased to 6.7-million.

These results show the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the third quarter of last year.

Stats SA further indicated that the formal sector is recording the largest employment increase while employment in the informal sector declined.

It’s the first time since 2008 the unemployment rate has not decreased in the fourth quarter. Seasonal jobs are usually created in the fourth quarter.

The percentage of young persons aged 15–24 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased from 31,1% in Q4 of  2018 to 32,0% in Q4 of 2019. In this age group, the NEET rate for males increased by 1,4 percentage points while the rate for females increased by 0,3 of a percentage point.

The NEET rate for females was higher than that of their male counterparts in both years. In both Q4 of  2018 and Q4 of  2019, more than four in every ten young females were not in employment, education, or training.

The number of employed persons increased in five of the nine provinces between Q3of  2019 and Q4 of  2019.

The largest employment increases were recorded in Gauteng, up by 38 000, North West, up by 32 000 and Western Cape, up by 24 000, while Limpopo and Eastern Cape recorded the largest employment losses of 35 000 and 18 000, respectively.

Of the 6,7 million unemployed persons, 55,9% had education levels below matric, followed by those with matric at 34,7% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Only 1,9% of the unemployed persons were graduates while 6,8% had other tertiary qualifications as their highest level of education.