Analysts say they expect job numbers to remain depressed in the third quarter of this year.  Their comments come as Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) prepares to release the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the third quarter of the year on Tuesday.

Analysts say employment will remain under pressure due to the impact of the pandemic and a staggering economy.  The unemployment rate increased by 1.8 %  in the second quarter, taking the unemployment rate to 34.4%.

ABSA Economist Miyelani Maluleke says the recent electricity supply constraints and the impact of the Omicron variant are expected to put further strain on businesses and employees alike. He says unemployment is expected to be 35% in the third quarter.

“We’ve got to rebook at the bargaining council system and we have got to end the extension of wage agreements to non-parties where the unions are not representative – which tends to be the case. That’s the first thing. We’ve got to look at our overall labour law and we need to properly and professionally strike a ballot. We need to enhance and make more powerful the duty to bargain in good faith,” says Maluleke.

A radical labour market reform

Labour Analyst, Andrew Levy says a radical labour market reform is necessary in order to help boost employment.

“The various shocks that we’ve had would have made it difficult for jobs to recover. These shocks include the third wave of COVID-19 infections that we saw in South Africa and also the disruptions that we saw in July. So, we’re not expecting much of an improvement in this 3rd quarter QLFS report. I think it is quite likely that we’ll see the unemployment for South Africa to hover around 35%,” says Andrew.

There was an increase in both unemployed persons and discouraged work seekers in the second quarter, while non economically active persons decreased by 380 000.

Statistics South Africa to release latest jobs figures on Tuesday: