South Africa’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly high. Statistics South Africa data shows the unemployment rate was unchanged at 26.7 % in the first quarter of this year, but more encouraging is that nearly 60% of people are actively participating in the economy.
The Quartely Labour Force Survey collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years and older.
This Stats SA data shows that the country is making very little progress in denting the high unemployment rate. Jobs were lost in the transport, mining and agriculture sectors in the first quarter of the year.
Despite this there were also 111 000 jobs created in the formal sector, 93 000 in the informal sector and 5000 in private households.
Chief Economist at Efficient Group Dawie Roodt says the rise in labour force participation is encouraging and worth noting.
On the other hand, the number of discouraged work-seekers also increased by 249 000 along with the unofficial unemployment numbers.
A new World Bank Group Systematic Country Diagnostic says tackling the root causes of poverty, inequality, and unemployment through coordinated reforms could help South Africa make further progress toward its Vision 2030 in the National Development Plan.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions says government needs to reduce the costs of high administered prices like electricity, transport costs and make sure that there is accessible cheap finance through a state bank.
However it does point out that many of the challenges identified, like insufficient skills for employment, are linked to the country’s long history of exclusion.
FNB says despite the forecast for economic growth of 2 percent this year, Gross Domestic Product will have to grow at more than double this rate in order to appreciably absorb new entrants and those that have grown despondent about finding employment.