In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we talk about the week’s top economics news, focusing on new employment and manufacturing data. 

Our host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Peter Bauer, a professor at the University of Johannesburg’s School of Economics. 

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The discussion begins with the latest unemployment figures released earlier in the week by Stats SA.

The statistics agency reported that more than 2-million South Africans lost their jobs in the second quarter, bringing into sharp focus the devastating economic blow of the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Business Day Spotlight host Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI
Business Day Spotlight host Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI

Stats SA, which released results of the quarterly labour force survey this week, says the total number of jobless people now stands at 14.1-million, about a quarter of SA’s nearly 60-million population.

Bauer explains some of the definitions used when gathering this data as, despite the increase in joblessness, official unemployment figures actually saw a seven percentage-point decrease from 30.1% in the first quarter of 2020 to 23.3% in the second. 

Bauer says the reason for these distorted figures is because the definition of “unemployed” requires that those who are out of work look for employment, and are available to be hired, to be counted as unemployed. However, during the lockdown, most people were prevented from looking for work through no fault of their own. 

The expanded definition, which shows a more accurate state of affairs, showed a rise in unemployment to 42%, up from 39.7% in the first quarter. 

The discussion also touches on recent manufacturing data, a possible increase of the informal sector, the state of the arts and cultural sector, and an outlook of the economy. 

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.


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