Employment declined in the second quarter of 2016 by 129 000 to 15.5 million, Statistics South Africa said on Thursday.
“A total 15.5 million people are working in South Africa and unemployment has tipped just a little bit by 0.1 % in this quarter,” Statistician General Pali Lehohla said at a media briefing to release the findings of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS).
The quarterly decline in total employment was driven by job losses in services (127 000 or 3.5%), agriculture (44 000 or 5%), transport (39 000 or 4.4%) and mining (24 000 or 5.1%). Formal sector jobs decreased by 66 000 quarter or quarter.
“Only jobs in households increased [by 39 000 quarter on quarter].
“If we had to compare the jobs, employment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) we are seeing an interesting pattern. The first time we see since quarter one 2011, a corresponding dip in GDP and corresponding dip in jobs going into the negative terrain that if we look at this from quarter one GDP and quarter two unemployment,” observed Lehohla.
According to the QLFS, the services, trade and finance industries accounted for over 55% of the employed and 60% of GDP.
The survey showed that formal sector employment declined for two consecutive quarters to 10.9 million in the second quarter. “It was still 0.8% higher compared to the same period last year,” said the Statistician General.
Lehohla said the formal sector on a quarter-on-quarter basis has been yo-yoing.
The informal sector contracted by 58 000 or 2.3% in the second quarter however was 5.8% lower compared to the same period last year.
Slight drop in unemployment
Unemployment declined in the second quarter by 90 000.
“It declined somewhat by 0.1%. It was at 26.7% to 26.6%,” he said, adding that during the same period the level of inactivity increased by 379 000.
This implies that people who lost jobs moved into inactivity rather than into unemployment or that those who were previously looking for work stopped looking for work.
The provinces of Free State and Gauteng reported the highest unemployment rate at 32.2% and 29.5%, respectively.
The expanded unemployment rate that includes those who did not look for work but were available to work increased by 0.1% to 36.4% in the second quarter.
When coming to the youth, the report noted that the youth unemployment rate remained high at 37.5% showing that the youth (aged 15 to 34) and people without matric remain vulnerable.
According to the report, there were approximately 3.2 million young people aged 15 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training. “This is only 31.2% of those aged 15 to 24 years while people without matric account for 58.3% of the unemployed,” said the report. – SAnews.gov.za