Black women most affected by unemployment in SA: Analyst

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Labour analyst Mamokgethi Molopyane says Black women bear the brunt of the high unemployment levels in South Africa. StatsSA released its unemployment figures on Tuesday, painting a bleak picture of surging figures and a state of hopelessness.

The unemployment rate stands at 34.4 percent,  an increase of 1.8 percentage points compared to the first quarter.

Those hardest hit are Black women with 41 percent of them jobless.

With the outlook for the job market remaining poor, Molopyane has painted a bleak picture of what lies ahead.

“The challenges that are brought on by the increasing number of those being unemployed reveal that it is mainly Black women who are disproportionally affected more than any other age and race. What we are seeing is that over time you are going to have the labour market that is compressed of mainly male workers while female workers are left on the side. This is also the same for Black female graduates but over time we are going to see them not at all being able to enter the labour market.”

Graduates also affected

The deepening job crisis amongst women in South Africa also impacts young graduates.

Tlotlo Bokala from Kimberley in the Northern Cape finished her studies in Television Production in 2019. Due to a lack of job opportunities in her field of study, she opted to do a certificate in marketing.

But that only got her a temporal work.

“I found a job but it was a contract for just like March until December. So when the contract ended I went back to finding a job. Applying to production companies, marketing and advertising companies agencies, and yes it’s been a struggle. I tried everything I had all the apps on my phone.”

Unemployment stats

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke announced the latest quarterly stats in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The stats show that the number of employed persons decreased by 54 000 in the second quarter to 14.9 million.

It further indicates that the number of unemployed persons increased by 584 000.

Maluleke says, “The unemployment rate for the 2nd quarter for 2021 – the number of those who were employed in the 1st quarter of 2021 has declined in the 2nd quarter by 54 000 people. The number of unemployed increased by 584 000 people from 7.2 million people to 7.8 million people. The unemployment rate of SA in the 2nd quarter of 2021 is 34.4% – this is the highest we have seen since 2008.”

Economist and employment analyst Andrew Levy said, “That is an increase of 2.4% and that is a huge number and obviously we can put this to the post-COVID situation and the ongoing retrenchments that are being seen right across the economy, obviously also reflecting the very negative economic outlook we are facing. So all in all a serious wake-up call to everyone, government, the departments dealing with labour.”