Stats SA announced, Tuesday, that the unemployment rate increased by 0,5 of a percentage point to 27,2% compared to the first quarter of 2018. 

The increase was due to a decline of 90 000 in the number of people in employment and an increase of 102 000 in the number of people who became unemployed between the first and second quarters of 2018. 

This was coupled with an increase in the number of discouraged work-seekers to 2,9 million during this period. 

The industry that recorded the most job losses was Manufacturing which accounted for 105 000 jobs, followed by Community, social and personal services (93 000) and Trade (57 000). Employment increases were recorded in Transport (54 000), Construction (45 000), Mining (38 000), Private households (22 000) and Utilities (18 000) industries.

However, jobs were created in the transport, mining and construction sectors.

“The job market is likely to improve later in the year, although marginally so, along with the expected recovery in economic growth on improved confidence and better global economic conditions,” said Nedbank.

“However, the unemployment rate will still remain high.

“Today’s statistics are disappointing and suggest that the economy remains depressed and is still struggling to create jobs. 

“However, activity will probably improve during the second half of the year although general conditions will remain relatively sluggish and subdued.”

The statistics show, once again, that there needs to be a step change in economic growth in SA for there be a meaningful fall in the scale of unemployment.  

Said economist Mike Schussler: “The expanded definition of unemployed reached 37,2% for the first time. That means 9,63 million adults are unemployed by this definition. 

“For the first time, if we rounded it to the nearest million, SA reaches 10 million unemployed,” he concluded.

Said SEIFSA’s Chief Economist  Michael Ade: “It is increasingly clear that the onus of finding a lasting solution to the skyrocketing unemployment numbers does not only rest with the government. As we shift our focus to the up-coming jobs summits, the high unemployment rate provides food for thought for all South Africans, who have to collectively seek sustainable solutions to the unemployment problem. 

“Accordingly, opportunity-driven (rather than necessity-driven) entrepreneurship should be encouraged since it caters largely for sustainable informal employment,”  

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