The South African Government has welcomed the quarterly labour force survey results which show a slight but significant decrease in the rate of unemployment in the country.
In terms of the latest data, the official unemployment rate decreased by 0.6% from 34.5% in the first quarter of 2022 to 33.9% in the second quarter.
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) yesterday unveiled the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the second quarter of 2022, which showed that the biggest job gains were recorded in Community and Social Services (276,000), Trade (169,000), Finance (128,000) and Construction (104,000). However, there were notable job losses in Manufacturing (73,000) and Transport (54,000). The total number of persons employed was 15.6 million in the second quarter of 2022.
While welcoming this major step forward, the Director General of GCIS, Ms Phumla Williams said that the challenge of unemployment, especially among the youth and women remain a major concern.
Ms Phumla Williams said: “The 648,000 jobs that were gained between the first quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2022 point to a resilient economy showing signs of recovery in the labour market post the Covid-19 pandemic. This is encouraging, however, we cannot be blind to the fact that more still needs to be done to improve the situation even further.
“Government will continue to intensify its employment initiatives and the continued recovery of the economy through the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. Of concern is that the quarterly labour force survey revealed that nearly half of South African women were out of the labour force.
“In 2022, 47,0% of South African women were recorded as economically inactive which means that almost half of the working age women in South Africa are out of labour force compared to 35,6% of their male counterparts. Most women were also considered to be in vulnerable employment with low income and low productivity jobs; more men were absorbed compared to women. The current unemployment rate for women is 35.5% compared to 32.6% for men.”
Commenting on this, Ms Williams said: “The unemployment gap between males and females cannot be ignored but we can appreciate that there has been some improvement over the past 10 years in the women and men unemployment gap as it currently stands at 2.9% compared to 2012 where the gap was at 3.7%.”
“The occupations that contributed the largest share of employment among women include Elementary (22,3%), Sales and services (18,5%), Clerk (16,4%), Domestic workers (11,9%) and Technician (11,2%) in Quarter 2:2022. In the same period, men recorded the largest share in Elementary (24,4%), Craft and related trade (17,2%), Sales and services (15,0%) and Plant and machine operator (13,4%).
“Government has implemented a range of measures to support employment and create jobs. The Presidential Employment Stimulus has over the past two years, supported 872,930 jobs and livelihoods, and will soon surpass 1 million people reached directly through various programmes.
“In addition, the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention has provided support for young work-seekers to access earning opportunities. Key highlights in the implementation of the intervention to date include:
- Over 2.9 million young people are now registered on the National Pathway Management Network through SAYouth.mobi
- A total of 358,738 young people have secured earning opportunities on SA Youth, with 69% of them young women.
- A total of 30,735 young people received non-financial support and 7 530 young people received financial enterprise support from the NYDA and Department of Small Business Development.
- In the first quarter of 2022/23 alone, the National Pathway Management Network facilitated the placement of 36,440 young people into earning opportunities in the formal and informal economy as well as through public employment.
“In addition to these employment programmes, the implementation of structural reforms through Operation Vulindlela will continue to unlock investment and drive job creation as the economy recovers. The accelerated reform of the energy sector announced by President Ramaphosa in July 2022 is expected to provide a further boost economic growth and job creation.
“While strides have been made over the past few months as reported by Stats SA, job creation and economic recovery remain the top priorities for government. What we have achieved shows that nothing is impossible if we all put shoulders to the wheel and work towards a common goal of creating many jobs for our people.”