South Africa’s unemployment rate drops down to 26.7%

Unemployment has dropped by a whole percentage point in the most recent financial quarter. According to StatsSA, it takes the official number down to 26.7% of the population who are without a job.

The quarterly results have taken South Africa away from a previous figure that was the worst recorded in the country for 14 years. Between the third and fourth quarters of 2017, 330,000 more people had found work. The total number of people still unemployed remains at 5.9 million, though.

How many people in South Africa are unemployed?

The picture also isn’t as rosy if you look at the ‘expanded unemployment rate’, which takes into account people who are discouraged from seeking work. Including 15-64 year olds with no work opportunities or access to job markets, we’re actually looking at a total of 9.2 million unemployed South African citizens:

Temporary gains, long term issues with unemployment rates

There are now 37.5 million people of working age in Mzansi. Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke kicked off the press briefing at 11:30, and revealed the improvement SA is seeing overall, despite there being a need for further improvement.

We can look no further than the range of unemployment itself. Yes, a rise of 330,000 people finding work is nice to see. But what about those who are still finding it tough going?

Finding work in South Africa

Agonisingly, Stats SA said that 67% of unemployed people have been looking for work for a year or more. This is an absolute mirror image of the stats released for the second and third quarters of the financial year. Again, two-thirds of those not in a job have been seeking employment for more than 12 months.

Of those who are ‘economically inactive’, a large number of them are registered students. StatsSA calculate that 41% of the unemployed are currently studying. 17% are recognised as “home-makers”, whereas 16% are acknowledged as “discouraged workers”.

These figures very much call for the champagne to be put on ice.


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