Release of second quarter employment statistics postponed

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Stats South Africa has postponed the release of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey to the end of the month. The statistics were meant to be released this week.

Stats SA has previously revealed that the number of unemployed persons increased by 344 000 to 7.1 million in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

Statistician General, Risenga Maluleke, says the release of the second quarter employment numbers has been postponed due to new data collection methods imposed as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Maluleke says Stats SA has had to rely on the use of phones, whereas data collections had previously been done in person.

“So our samples were a bit lower number 1, number 2 is that we were working on telephone, matter that we have never used before. Members of the society will remember that always we have gone to them with paper and pen and filled in the forms. Number 2 when you look at our sample sizes that are different for people that are not having telephones we have to continue working and looking at our data to make sure that by the time we come up we are solid,” says Maluleke.

Below is a discussion on the postponement with Maluleke:

Labour analyst Terry Bell says a jobs crisis in South Africa is unavoidable. He says there is currently no policy which can avert the expected job losses.

“I can see no recovery this year and I think the main people who are going to suffer are people at the lowest end of the scale, the lowest paid, the casual workers who are already suffering terribly,” he says.

“We are already having a great degree of increase in malnutrition being reported. Child malnutrition as well this country was not and the government was not in any position to, in terms of resources or any other way to cater for a lock down which actually meant that the poorest of the poor who could not social distancing would not get what they could,” adds Bell.

Economist, Mike Schüssler, says young people will be the worst affected by the looming jobs crisis which will be exacerbated by COVID-19. Schüssler says the coronavirus is expected to have a devastating effect on the labour market, which will lead to increased youth unemployment.

“I think the real peak in our unemployment for everyone will probably be in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter next year. Particularly for the youth it will be bad because there are more young people entering the job market this year as they complete matric and as they complete university they don’t always find jobs immediately and that is an international phenomenon and young people are always hurt a lot more in the last two or three decades in any job crisis.”