South Africa’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 34,4%

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South Africa's unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 34,4%
South Africa's unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 34,4%

The latest unemployment rate for the second quarter of 2021, released by Statistics South Africa on 24 august 2021, confirms the expected continuance of the bloodbath of job losses in the country. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 34,4% – the highest since the survey commenced in 2008.

An increase was to be expected in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the related restrictions that lead to the loss of numerous job opportunities, but despite the easing of these restrictions, the unemployment rate keeps rising and we do not see the same degree of recovery in the labour market as in the rest of the economic sectors.

What is particularly alarming is youth unemployment and the expanded unemployment rate, which includes demotivated jobseekers, which has increased with 3,4 million to 44,4% compared to the same period last year.

Approximately 64,4% of youths between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed and 33%, or 33 million, of this age group have no form of education or training. The unemployment rate for youths between the ages of 25 and 34 is 42,9%.

The fact that unemployment among the youth is rising so sharply points to a systemic problem, which will ultimately result in further, sustained unemployment.

There are various factors contributing to the continual rise in the unemployment rate – the Covid-19 pandemic is but one of them.

The true root causes include one of the worst educational systems in the whole world, misguided economic priorities, poor political leadership and the government’s utter failure to empower the private sector, the biggest job creator in the country, and stimulate the labour market.

The recent riots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal will no doubt contribute to the climbing unemployment rate, which will probably be even higher at the end of the third quarter.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Heloïse Denner on FF Plus