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Joblessness increases

The July unrest and Covid-19 really put South Africa’s economy on the backfoot. 😓 This is starkly evident in constantly rising unemployment numbers throughout the year. The latest stats show that joblessness reached its highest rate since Stats SA started reporting this data in 2008. It rose to 34.9% in the third quarter from 34.4% in the second quarter. Under the expanded definition of unemployment – which includes discouraged job seekers – the unemployment rate increased to 46.6%, up from 44.2%. That essentially means half of the population who are eligible for a job do not have one. 👎🏽 Joblessness means two things: one is that the economy is not growing at a rate that enables it to absorb more workers. Two: an increased risk of unrest and crime. 

Yes, it is depressing. But solutions do exist. Business Day reports there have been encouraging announcements that have the potential to drive higher rates of private sector investment in essential infrastructure in areas like electricity, ports, rail and broadband, as well as more broadly in sectors such as mining. All of this would result in more jobs instead of the jobless economic recovery and growth we’re currently seeing. Talk is not (yet) action, of course, and we’ll be watching closely to see how the government and private sector deliver. Meanwhile, consider how you might be able to empower young people and support them to seek work and business opportunities. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 2 December 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.