Today's Big Stories

Unemployment rate has increased over 2%

South Africa’s official unemployment rate, for the first quarter of 2016, stands at 26.7%, representing a 2.2 percentage point increase compared to the last quarter of 2015.

This means 5.7 million out South Africa’s 36.4 million people of working age in the country were unemployed during the first four months of 2016.

Statistician General Pali Lehohla talks to Kieno Kammies about these statistics.

We do report both numbers. We report the official figure, how all other countries measure, as well as how we measure the discouraged, who because of job search costs, have stopped looking for work.

Pali Lehohla, Statistician General of StatsSA

The figure they have arrived it is a staggering 36.3% when you include these people that have given up looking for work.

But during the first quarter, jobs get lost because of Christmas. The demand for employees drops as a consequence of a decline in employees post Christmas.

Pali Lehohla, Statistician General of StatsSA

But this time around, joblessness or unemployment has increased by 2.2% in the first quarter bringing unemployment to 26.7%.

Pali Lehohla, Statistician General of StatsSA

Lehohla says it is the highest quarter on quarter since they started measuring in 2008. Previously there was a measurement done twice a year.

He says economy as well as the devastating drought, and protracted strikes in the mines and manufacturing has contributed to job losses.

He says jobs from expanded public works programmes does help expose people to some working process.

They then tend to sustain or increase their ability to get jobs, so we shouldn't underestimate the opportunity that exposes people to the discipline of work.

Pali Lehohla, Statistician General of StatsSA

This is especially useful, he says, if people have not worked for years. It helps get them back into the discipline of working.

He says youth make up about two thirds of unemployment.

Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:


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