Photo: StatsSA

SOUTH AFRICA’S unemployment rate has increased by 1% point to 30,1% in the first quarter of 2020. All provinces recorded increases in the expanded unemployment rate.

The largest increase was recorded in Free State (up by 2,2percentage points), followed by North West (up by 2,1percentage points), Eastern Cape (up by 1,2 percentage points) and KwaZulu-Natal (up by 1,1percentage point).

“The unemployment is sitting at 30.1% having increased by 1.0 percentage point from the previous quarter,” said Statistician-General Risenga Maluleka on Tuesday.

Statistics SA said the number of employed persons decreased by 38 000 to 16.4 million in the three months to March, but increased by 91 000 compared to the same period last year.

The largest decreases in employment were observed in the clerical occupations, followed by technician and professional occupations in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter.

“The number of unemployed persons increased by 344 000 to 7.1 million. As a result, the official unemployment rate increased by 1 percentage point to (30.1%) compared to the fourth quarter of 2019,” said Stats SA.

During this period, the South African working-age population increased by 147 000 to 38.9 million and the labour force increased by 306 000 to 23.5 million.

“The percentage of South Africans aged 15 – 64 years with jobs (the absorption rate) has declined by 0.3 of a percentage point to 42.1%, and the labour force participation rate increased by 0.5 of a percentage point to 60.3% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019,” Stats SA said.

Between Q4: 2019 and Q1: 2020, the number of employed persons decreased in seven of the 10 industries, with the largest decline recorded in finance (50,000), followed by community and social services (33,000) and agriculture (21 000). Increases in employment were recorded in the trade (71,000), private households (30,000) and mining (6,000) industries.

Compared to the same period last year, a net increase of 91,000 in total employment in Q1: 2020 was largely due to gains in the number of people employed in the community and social services (185,000), agriculture (27,000), mining (18,000), and private households (15,000) industries.

Employment losses were recorded in the manufacturing (74,000), utilities (34,000), transport (30,000) and trade (25,000) industries during the same period.

(Compiled by Inside Politics staff)

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