The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has reacted to the shocking unemployment figures by saying the government must do more to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
SAFTU says the manufacturing sector had at one time composed 20% of GDP but has declined to just 11%.
Stats SA data shows the number of discouraged job seekers jumped by 201 000 or nearly seven percent in the last quarter.
The latest figures take the official unemployment rate to 32.6% in the first quarter – up from 32.5% in the last quarter of last year.
Unemployment increases to 32.6% in the first quarter of 2021: Johannes Khosa
SAFTU General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says the country has not started to deal with the economic crisis.
“We’re calling for a real stimulus package that will be above a trillion rand to make sure that the manufacturing sector is saved. To ensure that the jobs that are now at risk as we enter the third wave of the coronavirus are saved. To introduce a basic income grant to ensure that the number of women that are looking after our children are reduced by ensuring that we support them more directly and so that we can put the economy in a growth path,” says Vavi.
Reaction to Quarterly Labour Force figures: Zwelinzima Vavi
The #unemployment rate among the black African (36,7%) population group remains higher than the national average and other population groups.
— Stats SA (@StatsSA) June 1, 2021