8.2 Million South Africans Now Unemployed

Please share this article


The release of the latest unemployment statistics painted a bleak picture in the run up to the 2024 elections. Stakeholders are calling for leaders to put youth at the forefront of job creation efforts. 

Advertisement i

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) release of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) on Tuesday showed a slight increase in the country's unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2024. The official unemployment rate now sits at 32.9%, an increase of 0.8 percentage points compared to the previous quarter.

While 8.2 million unemployed in the country might suggest a worsening job market, the report reveals a more nuanced picture. The number of employed people in South Africa grew by 22,000 in the first quarter of 2024. However, this gain was overshadowed by a much larger increase in the number of unemployed individuals (up 330,000).

Stats SA explained that the demand for jobs is outpacing the jobs being created:

More people are entering the job market, but the economy isn't creating jobs fast enough to absorb them all.

The report also highlights a shift in employment sectors. Formal sector jobs increased by 56,000, while informal employment saw a decline of 100,000 in the same period. 

Trade, manufacturing, and agriculture were among the industries experiencing growth, while construction, social services, and finance sectors witnessed job losses.

The news is particularly concerning for young South Africans. The youth unemployment rate (15-34 years old) jumped to 45.5%, a 1.3 percentage point increase from the previous quarter. The percentage of unemployed graduates increased to 11,8%.

The total number of unemployed youth rose by a significant 236 000, despite a slight decrease in employed youth.

CEO at Afrika Tikkun, Onyi Nwaneri says the sobering unemployment statistics are largely related to the failure to create opportunities for youth. 

I believe that we going wrong uh because we're not focusing as much as we should on youth-related matters if you look at where we have had the most job losses in the NGO sector in the community sector services sector in the education and social sector you would see that the NGO sector is under pressure and any job that has been created in those sectors have been lost.

As South Africa prepares for the general elections at the end of May, stakeholders in positions of power have waxed lyrical about their plans to create jobs should they be elected. 

Nwaneria underscores the importance of placing young people’s interests at the forefront of policymakers. However, they add that young people have the power to elect their leaders. 

Young people have a voice they have the voice that can be exercised the most in deciding who would lead them so whoever we decide is going  to lead need to understand that young people need to be put at the centre of our development we can no longer have a situation where we have one of the highest you unemployment in the world

They add that while the government, along with the private sector, have done a lot to combat youth unemployment, every year new young people enter the job market. 

I think that the South African government and the private sector have done a lot if you look at our YES programme, our National Youth Service, our social employment programmes.

"Those programmes have done a lot to try and help solve this problem but the truth is that every year we have new young people coming out of universities, coming out of our high schools and the number is increasing and therefore this should be our number one priority."

Suggested Article:

unemployed youth

South African graduates hold degrees and ambition, but face a harsh reality with millions out of work. There are several challenges young people encounter despite education, and the pressure they face to find solutions.

Online Shopping Links

Takealot - Temu - Amazon - Shein


WhatsApp Channel

Sponsored Ad



Google News

Post-Matric Options


After completing your matric certificate exams, you are faced with a lot of post-matric options that can shape your future paths.

These options range from pursuing higher education at universities or colleges, entering vocational training programs, joining the workforce, or even starting your own business. There are so many choices but we are here to help.


Where to Study

Advertisement m

Other Articles

2024 has been dubbed the ‘super election year’. According to Statista, “around half the world’s population lives in the more than 60 countries holding national elections in 2024, and with roughly two billion eligible voters, this is being described as the largest election year in history.”


Latest SASSA articles

Sassa revealed that individuals can submit Sassa grant applications online. Here's everything you need to know about Sassa online grant applications. 

Millions of people living in South Africa are unemployed. These people can apply for the R370 grant in June 2024. 


Careers Advice

Everyone is spending so much time online these days - which has lead to Digital Marketing growing into a big business. Working in Digital Marketing promises a long and profitable career but what exactly does a Digital Marketer do? And how do you get into Digital Marketing?

Advertisement i