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A lack of jobs – the ticking time bomb in South Africa

The results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the first quarter of 2019 released by Statistics South
Africa, indicate that the official unemployment rate increased by 0,5 of a percentage point to 27,6% compared to
the fourth quarter of 2018.

The increase in the unemployment rate is a result of a decline of 237 000 in the number of people in employment and an increase of 62 000 in the number of people who were unemployed between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019.

The South African working-age population increased by 149 000 in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the fourth
quarter of 2018.

The labour force decreased by 176 000. The results further indicate that the number of discouraged
work-seekers increased by (156 000) and the other not economically active population by 169 000 resulting in the
net increase of 325 000 in the number of those who were not economically active.

A decline in employment was observed in all sectors (Formal sector, Informal sector, Agriculture and Private
households) in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

The net loss of 237 000 in the number of people in employment was mainly driven by Construction (142 000), followed by Finance (94 000), Community and social services (50 000), Private households (31 000), Mining (20 000) and Agriculture (12 000).

Employment gains were recorded in Transport (59 000), Trade (25 000), Utilities (16 000) and Manufacturing
(14 000).

There were approximately 10,3 million persons aged 15–24 years in the first quarter of 2019.

Between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, the percentage of young persons aged 15–24 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased by 2,1 percentage points to 33,2% (3,4 million).

Of the 20,3 million young people aged 15-34 years, 40,7% were not in employment, education or training (NEET) – an increase by 1,8 percentage points compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

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