Youth unemployment in South Africa remains stubbornly high: Experts

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Experts say youth unemployment in South Africa remains stubbornly high with young people between the ages of 15 and 24 accounting for 66.5% of the unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Former Statistician-General Padi Lehohla maintains that access to quality education is the only answer for dealing with the high youth unemployment.

Others say government needs to liberalise the economy to create conditions for job creation.

Research by Statistics South Africa shows that a growing number of young people have been discouraged with the labour market and are also not building on their skills base through education and training.

As Stats SA prepares to release the quarterly labour force survey for the first quarter of 2022 on Tuesday, Lehohla says government’s youth employment programmes are not enough to adequately deal with the problem.

“A million less among the 15 – 24 were employed in 2020 compared to 2008. Five hundred thousand less were employed in the 25 – 34 level in 2020 compared to 2008. Now tell me whether there is a youth program which actually supports this? The story is very disturbing, yet the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] says we have employed so many among the youth.

“The figures don’t support that, who gives the President the numbers. The Statistician-General presents the numbers, who are the bureaucrats who then advices the President on this for him to make this kind of statement,” asks Lehohla.

Quarterly Labour Force Survey Document: