The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), released by Statistics SA (Stats SA) today, has put paid to the expectation of a continued rise in total employment in South Africa, the trade union Solidarity says.
“Following the sharp drop in 2009 at the time of the recession, levels of employment remained virtually constant for two years in spite of an upswing in economic growth. It is disappointing that the number of employed people has dropped by 75 000, despite the record increase during the third quarter of 2011 and the subsequent increase during the fourth quarter.
“Positive figures had been released by Stats SA since the third quarter of 2011, but as seasonal factors always push employment upwards during the fourth quarter, we had to wait until today to see whether the rising trend would continue,” Paul Joubert, economics researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI), said.
South Africa’s unemployment rate rose to 25.2% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 23.9% in the fourth quarter of 2011, says Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
“Unemployment increased by 282 000 persons between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012,” Deputy Director General for Population and Social Statistics at Stats SA, Kefiloe Masiteng, said on Tuesday.
In releasing the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), which is a household-based survey started in 2008, the survey found that in the first quarter of 2012, 4.5 million persons were unemployed. Of the 4.5 million, 3.1 million or 67.8% have been looking for work for a year or longer. Meanwhile, 59.6% of the job seekers did not have matric, while 44% have never worked before.
The increase in the number of unemployed people, together with a decrease in employment as well as a decrease in the economically inactive people, resulted in the increase in the unemployment rate - up by 1.3% to 25.2%.
“The expanded unemployment rate which relaxes the requirement of job search to be classified as unemployed also increased by 1.2% from 35.4% to 36.6% between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012,” said Stats SA.