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Picture: BLOOMBERG
Picture: BLOOMBERG

While SA’s unemployment rate may have seen an overall decline for the first time in almost two years, several provinces recorded expanded unemployment rates above 50%.

The latest Stats SA data, released on Wednesday, showed the unemployment rate declined from a record high of 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 34.5% in the first quarter of 2022.

This comes after the manufacturing and mining sectors added jobs and the government employed more people through its public works programme.

It is the first drop since the second quarter of 2020, when job seekers were hindered by the lockdowns to slow the spread of Covid-19.

According to the latest data, about 370,000 jobs were gained between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.

The biggest job gains were recorded in community and social services, manufacturing and trade.

However, despite the 0.8% decrease, data showed the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal recorded expanded unemployment rates higher than 50%.

The four provinces also had a more than 15% point difference between expanded and official unemployment rates.

Data showed the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal recorded expanded unemployment rates above 50%.
Data showed the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal recorded expanded unemployment rates above 50%.
Image: Stats SA

“Black women are the most vulnerable, with an unemployment rate of 40.6% in quarter one of 2022. This is 4.1 percentage points higher than the national average for women at 36.4%.

“About 3.8-million (37%) out of 10.2-million young people aged 15-24 were not in employment, education or training (NEET). The overall NEET rate increased by 4.6% in Q1 of 2022 compared to Q1 of 2021.”

In a statement, employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi expressed cautious optimism despite the marginal decline in the official unemployment rate.

The marginal decrease in unemployment was still “stubbornly high”.

He said the SA economy needed resilient and sustained economic growth.

“The department, through the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s Labour Activation Programme (LAP), has taken a strategic direction that training of the unemployed should be demand-led and lead to employment at the end of the training period,” said Nxesi.

TimesLIVE

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