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Unemployment rate hits 32.6 percent in SA, the highest since 2008.

Article by: Dumisane Dube

Government’s statistics agency, Statistics South Africa released the first quarterly labour force figures on Tuesday.

According to Stats SA it had suspended face-to-face data collection for all its surveys on 19 March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and restricted movement. Stats SA changed the mode of collection data to Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing.

The country’s unemployment rate increased to 32.6 percent between January and March 2021, highest since 2008.

This is an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point from the previous quarter.

Stats SA says the working-age population increased by 144 000 or 0,4% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.

“The number of employed persons decreased by 28 000 to 15,0 million in Q1: 2021, while the number of unemployed persons increased by 8 000 to 7,2 million compared to Q4: 2020, resulting in a decrease of 20 000 (down by 0,1%) in the number of people in the labour force,” stated Stats SA.

According to Stats SA the number of Not Economically Active persons increased by 164 000 in Q1:2021 compared to Q4:2020.

“Eastern Cape C recorded the highest official and expanded unemployment rates.  Limpopo, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces have more than 15.0 percentage points’ difference between their expanded and official unemployment rates,” added Stats SA.

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