Unemployment Rate Sees Increase At 32.1%

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The final quarter of the year saw a rise in the number of unemployed individuals residing in South Africa, as disclosed by Statistics South Africa earlier this week.

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The most recent data from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) indicates a troubling increase in South Africa's unemployment rate, reaching 32.1% in the last quarter of 2023. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) unveiled the Fourth Quarter QLFS for 2023 earlier this week.

The official unemployment rate stands at 32,1%, an increase of 0,2 of a percentage point in Q4 2023 compared to Q3 2023. 

The fourth quarter of 2023 saw a modest increase of 0.2 percentage points in South Africa's unemployment rate, reaching 32.1%, highlighting persistent challenges in the nation's labor market amid economic fluctuations.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) data, the workforce experienced a reduction in employment, witnessing a decrease of 22,000 individuals employed, totaling 16.7 million in the last quarter compared to the third quarter of 2023. This decline in employment significantly contributes to the prevailing high unemployment rate, emphasizing the instability of job security across various industries.

Concurrently, the survey revealed a rise in the number of unemployed individuals, increasing by 46,000 to a total of 7.9 million in the same period. This surge intensifies the employment crisis, leaving millions without a stable income.

Interestingly, the survey depicts mixed dynamics in the labor market. The count of those not economically active for reasons other than discouragement notably increased by 218,000, reaching 13.4 million.

However, there was a decrease of 107,000 in discouraged work-seekers. Consequently, the non-economically active population showed a net increase of 111,000 in the fourth quarter.

Despite the concerning rise in the official unemployment rate, the expanded definition, which includes those who have stopped seeking work, experienced a slight decline by 0.1 percentage point, dropping to 41.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023.

This minor decrease may be indicative of various factors influencing individuals' participation in the labor market, such as discouragement, potential engagement in informal employment, or other socio-economic conditions

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A student participating in a learnership.

South Africa's unemployment rate is at a record high, with majority of unemployed people being part of the youth. Learnerships could very well be one of the solutions to this major problem.


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