SA's story line: Biting unemployment

SA's story line: Biting unemployment

2014-10-31 06:00

Johannesburg - High and long-term unemployment are critical problems facing the country as the jobless feel the creeping effects of poverty, said statistician general Pali Lehohla.

"The story line in South Africa is that we are in a high unemployment state, over a very long period of time from 2008, and we can go back to 2001," he said at the release of Stats SA's 2014 third quarter labour force survey in Pretoria.

"We have been swimming in that state for quite some time. Those who are in non-permanent employment are really vulnerable... When you don't work you lose skills and you lose capacity to perform, and then you become less employable."

Those who did not work faced a downward cycle and as a result of not working were feeling the creeping effects of poverty.

Long-term unemployment

Lehohla said that long-term unemployment is a problem facing policymakers as they seek to address joblessness.

"We see that 1.4 million people have been out of jobs for more than five years. Now, is it possible to rehabilitate such people?" Lehohla asked while presenting Stats SA's 2014 third quarter labour force survey in Pretoria.

"Policy has to now focus on those who have been out of jobs for more than five years. Is there a small step for rescue or are you condemned?"

A total of 1.1m people had been out of work for one to three years, 1m for three to five years, 739 900 for six months to a year, and 737 000 people for less than six months.

What to focus on?

"What do you prioritise? Do you prioritise those who have just been short-term out of employment or those who are long-term?" Lehohla asked.

Of unemployed black people, 67.3% were in long-term unemployment, 64.8% of unemployed Indians and Asians, 59.9% of unemployed coloureds, and 50.1% of unemployed whites.

The Free State had the highest official unemployment rate, at 34.6%, followed by the Northern Cape (29.7), Eastern Cape (29.5), Mpumalanga (29.3), North West (26.8), Gauteng (24.6), KwaZulu-Natal (24.1), Western Cape (23.6), and Limpopo (15.9).

The labour force

Out of a working population of 35.5 million people, aged between 15 and 64, 20.3m formed the labour force. A total of 15.1m people had jobs in South Africa in the third quarter of 2014, and 5.2m were unemployed.

Of the 15.1m employed, 10.8m were employed in the formal sector and 2.4m in the informal sector. A total of 670 000 people were employed in the agricultural sector while 1.29m were employed in private households.

The labour force participation rate, being the total labour force divided by the working age population, was 57.1%, a 0.2% drop from the second quarter.

The absorption rate, being the total number of employed divided by the working age population, was 42.6%, a 0.1% drop from the second quarter.

Employment facts

Among those employed, 23.2% were employed in the community and social services sector, 21.1% in the trade sector, 13.4% in the finance sector, 11.5% in manufacturing, and 8.5% in construction.

Private households contributed 7.8% of employed people, while transport was 6.2%, agriculture 4.5%, mining 2.9%, and utilities 0.8%.

Of the working age population, 27.8% of woman were officially unemployed, a 0.3% decrease from the second quarter of 2014, while 23.4% of men were officially unemployed.

Unemployed persons were those aged 15 to 64 years of age actively looking for work or who tried starting a business in the weeks preceding Stats SA's survey.

When using the expanded unemployment rate, 39.9% of women and 32.3% of men were unemployed.

  • Swiss Palms - 2014-10-31 06:12

    Not really a good story to tell. Unless if you are on board the gravy train.

      Renny Meere - 2014-10-31 08:14

      Bee & unions are the problem here. Bee had the effect where a lot of professionals leave the country as they saw no future for themselves and their offspring, these professionals used to employ other professionals, hence many graduates sitting at home unemployed. The unions on the other hand destroy future investment in our country creating more unemployment. Why can't the ANC see this, or they know this but choose to ignore it. Please please can we have a functional government.

      Nicholas Van Graan - 2014-10-31 08:35

      A collapsing public education system, militant trade unions, and rigid labour laws are key causes of our high unemployment rate. This is common knowledge that is repeated over and over again, yet there does not seem to be any political will to do anything about it.

      Eugene Trollip - 2014-10-31 08:49

      Renny / Nick. the ANC will never do anything as they are in bed with the unions, because the unions are also their voter base (for now in any case) ... vicious circle.

      NickvanGraan - 2014-10-31 08:57

      @Eugene, well that's really the point isn't it. They are all handcuffed together through this distructive historical allegiance. They fear upsetting each other incase it threatens their lavish lifestyles ...all to the detriment of South Africa and its future.

  • jungleboy - 2014-10-31 06:34

    Nobody needs wo worry. Our president PROMISED 5 million new jobs... we are safe.

      John Stoltz - 2014-10-31 06:50

      Jungleboy, he also said the RSA has a good story to tell!!! (One about corruption, racism, incompetent cadre deployment, poor service delivery, health care collapse, infra-structure dilapidation, robbing of the viscus, bribing SAP Services, 95% unqualified municipal audits, etc, etc. !!! (Now maybe he was lying,....but would he???)

      RabbleRouser - 2014-10-31 07:30

      The problem is that Zuma never promised 6 million jobs. He promised 6 million "job opportunities". There is a big difference. The implied rhetoric was just vote catching trick and a sleight of hand. Job opportunities means that you get a bunch of people, teach them how to sweep streets for three weeks and make a minimum wage payment. Then you take the same people and teach them how to do grass cutting for three weeks and once again make a minimum wage payment. So, effectively 2 job opportunities have been created for each trainee. And so it goes on. The idea is that they will then go and find their own work. Job opportunities does not equal permanent work. It's just an electioneering trick played out at voting time.

      Klaus Muller - 2014-10-31 07:40

      @RabbleRouser, some people have the attention span of goldfish, they hear what they want to hear & job......suits them well enough,

      RabbleRouser - 2014-10-31 09:18

      @Klaus Muller. Absolutely correct. And they have an even shorter memory retention span. That is why the politicians just tell the electorate what they like to hear. The voters then just apply selective hearing and buy into the useless rhetoric. That explains why a party like the ANC can brandish the same slogans and empty promises one election after another.

  • Frik Vingers - 2014-10-31 06:39

    Ban unions and repeal all but the most basic labour laws, problem solved.

  • John Stoltz - 2014-10-31 06:47

    The employment situation will not improve as long as the draconian labour laws are still in place. COSATU should be banned as well as the policy of AA/B-BBEE!! Just watch the numbers getting worst and worst! But the ANC will never discipline its lap dag COSATU!!

  • Terence Wessels - 2014-10-31 06:48

    Well done Zanc. Where are the 6 million jobs LazyJZ? Liar. Thief.

      Marz Socks - 2014-10-31 08:59

      @Anthony hey buddy your facts are grossly wrong. Germany's unemployment rate is 5%. First world countries don't have 15% of their population below the poverty line. By the way, they are educated and work hard there too.

      joannekc1 - 2014-10-31 10:35

      I didn't hear Merkel promising "6 million jobs" during the German election... Just like the 5 million promised in 2009. Good story.

  • kevern.upton - 2014-10-31 06:49

    .....and the situation will only get worse as the vast economic minority continues to pay for the vast uneconomic majority whilst amidst ineptocracy.

  • kevern.upton - 2014-10-31 06:50

    .....crisis "what crisis"

  • Kamohelo Moshodi - 2014-10-31 06:59

    Well done zanc this is a perfect story to tell and 62pc is very mach happy abt this good news.well they deserve it.

  • Marie Hamilton - 2014-10-31 07:02

    Send all the foreigners back to where they came from! Far too many in our country! Half the problem solved.

      Klaus Muller - 2014-10-31 07:43

      Do they claim benefits? Have been in RSA since 1968, never unemployed & guess what, I don't get a single cent from those ruling thieves.

      Marie Hamilton - 2014-10-31 08:55

      I was definitely not meaning foreigners that contribute to this country!

      Rachel Chitehwe - 2014-10-31 11:21

      @Marie you are plain xenophobic. Even in other countries you will find South Africans there doing well too. Isnt Australia full of South African foreigners? you are one bitter woman full of hate. Is there something else we must know?

      Rachel Chitehwe - 2014-10-31 11:22

      @Marie you are plain xenophobic. Even in other countries you will find South Africans there doing well too. Isnt Australia full of South African foreigners? you are one bitter woman full of hate. Is there something else we must know?

      David Lawry - 2014-10-31 18:37

      Forgieners come here and get jobs because there is opportunity and they WANT to work, unlike many of the SA locals who sit around waiting for some grant or free housing, schooling etc!! It has alot to do with a persons attitude & sense of entitlement!!

  • Rty Rty - 2014-10-31 07:05

    Why are you telling us something that we know – you waste your breath. Tell us how to fix this. (1) get rid of affirmative action, (2) allow companies to hire people who are capable in doing the work & fire those how are just a gravy train passengers, (3) any strikes that are illegal – companies are allowed to fire them – then you will see how many of the unemployed becomes employed again (and those strikers can go to play with themselves), (4) provide tax incentives to start-up companies (like in Botswana – who is light years ahead of SA), (5) get rid of BEE ratings, and the list goes on & on & on….

      kevern.upton - 2014-10-31 07:46

      .... Interesting choice of words... Botswana ... Light years ahead....Eishkom.

  • graeme.ouzman - 2014-10-31 07:07

    It's their own faults. I offer jobs to tons of people daily, and most of them never arrive for their interview. Let the idiots starve and let evolution take its course.

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-31 08:46

      What jobs do you offer Graham?

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-31 08:46

      Sorry - Graeme

  • Andrew Gibbs - 2014-10-31 07:09

    Fire everyone who works for the Department of Labour. That will ease unemployment in no time.

  • Kratervark Karools - 2014-10-31 07:11

    Rty Rty, you are wise beyond your years! The best 3 words in the American language: You are fired! We are mrchanising so as to downscale our labour force. We employ 150 people and I am tired of licking people's butts to do their work and then having to go to the CCMA when I fire them. Fortunately haven't lost a case yet@

  • Kratervark Karools - 2014-10-31 07:12

    That should have been mechanising....

  • Steven Francisco - 2014-10-31 07:14

    Marie Hamilton if you send all the foreigners back who is going to do the actual work ?

      Marie Hamilton - 2014-10-31 08:44

      @Steven Francisco I get what you are saying but there are plenty foreigners in top positions in some firms and plenty qualified South africans who want to work but cannot find employment!

      Rachel Chitehwe - 2014-10-31 08:56

      @Marie, I guess there are a lot of South Africans elsewhere outside South Africa who are also in top positions at work places. It works both ways. The only thing is you hate foreigners

      Cassava Undersiege - 2014-10-31 09:38

      Marie Hamilton you sound xenophobic,sending foreigners is not the solution,creating employment is the theme here.

  • Pieter Van De Venter - 2014-10-31 07:25

    Manufacturing 11%. Watch this drop to 5% with imported products increase. This is mainly due to red tape, over priced labour and very expensive energy. Add AA/BEE to that toxic mixture and it is clear why the toothpaste I use is now a product of Vietnam that was manufactured for years in Isipingo!! Well done ANC. Jeremy Cronin cries about "capital flight" in the form of profits and dividends - Watch the capital flight of disinvestment!!

  • adriaan.pienaar.96 - 2014-10-31 07:27

    The rewards of BEE an AA.......

  • Lunetic Mental - 2014-10-31 07:28

    only 11.5% in the manufacturing business !! Thats why we are going under!!

  • mikey.scholtz.7 - 2014-10-31 07:38

    25% overall unemployment and 62% vote for ANC, so a large majority of the unemployed voted for the ANC. Sorry you get what you voted for.

  • Raymond Dobson - 2014-10-31 07:38

    no money = no education + over populatiion + ANC in power = disaster.

  • Thamsanqa D't - 2014-10-31 07:41

    Results of brainless Zuma..... and everyone who voted him into power

  • Charl-Bradford Stringer - 2014-10-31 07:44

    This is all thanks to the ANC.. BBBEE and labour laws only favouring the workers and not the employers.. Now nobody wants to create jobs.. ANC is doomed what ever they do...

  • Xolani J Mbambo - 2014-10-31 07:48

    Natonal Spacial Development Perspective (NSDP) is exercebating the situation in Rural Areas since goverment neglect those people there, and the quility of education does not do what is envisaged by the NSDP. Government actions are very slow which make me asseverate that unemployed people are still going to swim against powerful tides to escape this predicament.

  • Azande Izintombi - 2014-10-31 07:49

    I partly agree with you there Graeme, there's a lot of people who have a great lack of respect for time and proper planning. However, there is also a considerable amount of qualified graduates sitting at home because they do not have the experience needed by companies. Another thing I have noticed about South Africans is that we are a very spoiled nation. We depend largely on the government and this fosters an "entitlement" attitude. Let's also consider the state of our education system, kids these days aren't encouraged to study maths, science and geography (fields that NEED resources). Everyone jut wants to be famous now. Very few people have a "get up and go get it" attitude. Too many people are too lazy.

  • cuan.wood - 2014-10-31 07:51

    I won't employ South Africans, too unreliable, labour law favours the employee and they steal.

  • Arno Olinger - 2014-10-31 07:55

    I sense a dwindling tax base, hence the push for more employment. How many of that 1.4m don't actually want to work due to a sense of entitlement and how many are running their own small businesses and not paying tax?

  • Akhenaten C.T. - 2014-10-31 07:56

    Waste of money to change the name in the first place.

  • Susan Fraser - 2014-10-31 08:08

    Simple solution...ease off with the labour laws for small to medium companies..If I could fire one employee, without having to go thru the labour advisor and the possibility of being taken to the CCMA, I will employ three in her!!

  • Raul Curado - 2014-10-31 08:11

    Regarding unemployment, things seem to be far worse than they were before 1994. South Africa, a country with so many resources, has the third highest unemployment rate in the world, after Greece and Spain, who have suffered a major economic crisis since 2008. The problem with most African states is that their leaders are mostly incompetent and corrupt and treat the resources of a country as political entitlements. As incompetent and corrupt they are they continue to be voted into government, because there is no one else with the relevant experience to change things. Economic freedom can only be obtained by increasing foreign investment and guaranteeing the investors security; building stronger ties with the private sector and educational institutions and repealing the harsh labour laws and red tape which makes employment difficult.

  • Mnqobi Chiliza - 2014-10-31 08:37

    It funny cz foreigners comes in to our country and make money, we are such a laizy nation. All we think about is being employed by another person

  • Dave Russell - 2014-10-31 09:39

    The government still has not learned that BEE kills business.

  • Andries Beukes - 2014-10-31 10:50

    As I would like to agree with most of the comments, allow me to say the following which is critical in adressing the unemployment crisis our country is facing. I'm convince that there are sufficient policies in place to overcome the unemployment challenges. I'm of the opinion that these policies is not translated in practical strageies and action plans, because it got develop on the notion of doing good. Meaning that job creation iniatives are firtsly developent to benefit those, that have...Secondly SMME's are not supported by goverment and parastatals, because these small businesses can reduced our unemployment with 50% over a period of three years, government minimise the "red tape" in doing business with them, because capital projects (infractural ie. hospital, school, roads, etc) stipulate that only 25% of any project should be done by SMME's / local businesses. This percentage must be increased to 60% to allowed these small contractors to ensure sustainable employment (normally 6 months to 18 months)and transfer of skills over longer employable periods. This EPWP is also not working, because the unemployed got exploited by councillors and government officails - its "baantjies for boeties" and the system is creating lazy workers, because they are 3hours productive per day and thats why they are almost satisfy with the R60-00 per day allowances. The FET Colleges is also not helping, because they are not producing students that are employable, according to recent study.

  • Given Myanga - 2014-10-31 11:00

    the truth is the youth is very choosy, for them a job is to have a lap top. wait for someone to tell them what to do. they need a boss to remind them.

  • Pablo How - 2014-10-31 11:43

    And the summary is ... increased theft of copper cables, increased mall robberies, increased murder and violence rates, ... thanks ANC government for how you look after us, NOT

  • Maishe Bopape - 2014-10-31 13:03

    We need to foster ABCD(Assets Building Community Development) to expand the tax base and add social values to our social well-being.

  • Ryan Paulssen - 2014-10-31 15:25

    South africa doesnt have good

  • Ryan Paulssen - 2014-10-31 15:26

    South africa doesnt have a good education system and a corrupt government. DA is our only hope.

  • Joseph Tettey - 2014-10-31 16:33

    This is exactly what Cosatu wanted from the very beginning and have got. Congratulation Vavi and Cosatu the youth will deal with you . Our hearts go to those whose life have been destroyed by the greed of the few who claim to be leaders.

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