The unemployment rate has increased to a new record. In the fourth quarter of 2021, it rose to 35,3%.
Statistics South Africa has released the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS). The survey confirms that the number of employed persons increased by 262 000 to 14,5 million. In the same time period, the number of unemployed persons also increased by 278 000 to 7,9 million compared to the 3rd quarter of 2021.
This is the highest quarterly rate since the start of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2008 – a new record for the unemployment rate.
In a summary of the key findings of the survey, Stats SA says: “These changes in the labour market resulted in the official unemployment rate increasing by 0,4 of a percentage point from 34,9% in the third quarter of 2021 to 35,3% in the fourth quarter of 2021 – the highest since the start of the QLFS in 2008. The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment decreased by 0,4 of a percentage point to 46,2 % in quarter 4 2021 compared to quarter 3 2021.”
The number of discouraged work-seekers decreased by 56 000 (1,4%) and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 341 000 (2,4%) between the two quarters.
The Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities David Maynier says there is a slightly different economic picture in the Western Cape though. In a statement, Maynier says: “Too many people, especially young people, do not have jobs, or have given up looking for jobs, in the Western Cape. However, we welcome the fact that 37 000 more jobs have been created quarter-on-quarter and that we have the lowest expanded unemployment rate in the Western Cape.” He adds: “The Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the fourth quarter of 2021, released by Statistics South Africa today (29 March 2022), records employment growth of 37 000 quarter-on-quarter and records the lowest expanded unemployment rate of 30.4% in the Western Cape.”