More jobs vanished during pandemic lockdown, says StatsSA
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THE Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa increased unemployment, especially among young black job seekers, by close to 600 000 to 7.8 million, a Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) official told Parliament’s portfolio committee on labour yesterday.
The most job losses were in service sectors such as the financial sector, which forced banks, debt collections and call-centre agencies to shut down as the country was in lockdown in the second quarter of the current year.
Nozipho Tshabalala, standing in for the Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke and Malerato Mosiane, chief director for Labour Statistics, said South Africa's unemployment rate of 34.3 percent increased by 1.8 percentage points, while the absorption rate of job seekers declined 0.3 percent to 37.7 percent and the labour force participation rate at 57.5 percent increased by 1.1 percentage points.
There were increases in both unemployed and discouraged work seekers in the second quarter of this year, whereby the employed declined to 14.9 million from 15 million, while the unemployed increased to 7.8 million from 7.2 million in the previous quarter.
The not economically active gap dropped slightly to 13.5 million in the second quarter against 14.1 million in the first quarter, although there were 186 000 more discouraged job seekers.
A total of 278 000 finance jobs were lost in the pandemic, the community and social service lost 166 000 jobs, the manufacturing sector haemorrhaged 83 000 jobs - these were the highest employment losses in recent times.
“Irrespective of gender, the black African and coloured population groups remain vulnerable in the labour market,” the officials said, citing an expanded definition of 44.4 percent in the quarter, which saw black African job seekers increase to 48.7 percent from 47.9 percent and coloured unemployed at 36.7 percent from 34.5 percent.
The unemployment rate among black African women, said to be the most vulnerable with an unemployment rate of 41 percent in the second quarter of this year, was 4.2 percent higher than the national average.
The unemployment rate among the black African population at 38.2 percent remains higher than the national average and other population groups as it rose from 36.7 percent in the first quarter of 2021.
According to the briefing, about 3.4 million, or 33 percent, out of 10.2 million young people aged 15 to 24 were not in employment, education or training, which was a 0.8 percent decline in the quarter under review compared to the same one in 2020.
Youth in the same age category and the 25 to 34 years bracket recorded the highest unemployment rate of 64.4 percent and 42.9 percent respectively.
Graduate unemployment is 23.4 percent lower than the national official unemployment rate in the first quarter of this year. Overall employment declined by 54 000 in the second quarter of this year compared to the first quarter.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE