Statistics South Africa has released the unemployment rate for the third quarter, which rose to a new record high of 34.9% from 34.4% in the second quarter.

This means that the number of unemployed people now stands at 7 643 000. According to an expanded definition of unemployment that includes those discouraged from seeking work, 46.6% of the labour force was without work in the third quarter.

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.