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Unemployment has hit a record high of 34.4%, 7.8 million people are currently jobless.

Article by: Dumisane Dube

Stats SA released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the second quarter on Tuesday. This is the highest unemployment rate recorded since the survey started in 2008.

Stats SA says that the increase in the unemployment figure was mainly due to an increased number of people who were previously not economically active, now actively looking for employment.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey indicated that unemployment increased to 44,4% according to the expanded definition. The numbers show that unemployed persons increased by 584 000 in the second quarter of 2021.

7.8 million people are currently unemployed in the country, which is an increase from 7.2 million in the first quarter. The figure translates into a 34.4% unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate was previously 32.6%, and the number of jobless people was 7.2 million.

The expanded definition of unemployment – which accounts for those discouraged from seeking work – has increased 1.2 percentage points to 44.4%.

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke says job losses were seen in various industries including finance, real estate and manufacturing.

“And this 584 000 people pushed our number of unemployed from the second quarter which was 7,2 million people to 7,8 million. When we take the 7,2 million people and add the 3,2 million people which are discouraged work seekers, plus another 800 000 people who didn’t look for work other than being discouraged, we come to 11,9 people – which accounts for our unemployment rate as expanded sitting at 44,4%,” says Maluleke.

Stats SA numbers shows that unemployment rate among women was higher at 36,8% compared to 32,4% among men.

According to Stats SA the Eastern Cape recorded the highest unemployment rate. The official unemployment rate for the province is at 47.1%, while the expanded unemployment rate is at 53%.

Unemployment is still a challenge among the youth. Nearly two-thirds (64.4%) of those aged 15 to 24 are unemployed, and 42.9% of those aged 25 to 34 are unemployed.

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