Sifiso Skenjana, chief economist and thought leadership executive at IQ Business. Picture: SUPPLIED
Sifiso Skenjana, chief economist and thought leadership executive at IQ Business. Picture: SUPPLIED

In this edition of the Business Day Spotlight, we talk about the state of employment in SA.

Our host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Sifiso Skenjana, chief economist of IQ Business to discuss the issues.

The country’s jobless rate rose to 32.6%, up 0.1 percentage point from the final quarter of 2020, the quarterly labour force survey released by Stats SA on Tuesday showed.

That is the highest level since the report was introduced 13 years ago and shows the recovery from the worst slump in a century is not translating to increased hiring in an economy that was hobbled by one of the highest rates of unemployment and inequality even before Covid-19 hit SA.

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Skenjana says Covid-19 has done much to discourage people from pursing employment opportunities, given the shedding of over 2-million jobs in the last year.

Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI.
Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI.

He highlights the fact that even as the economy does start to recover, that does not necessarily mean jobs will return to where they were before. A big part of this has to do with businesses that were forced to change how they operate during the pandemic, which in many instances, calls for new or different skills.

The discussion focuses on the latest unemployment figures released this week; factors that have contributed to current rates; how different industries and sectors have fared in terms of hiring; factors discouraging people from seeking employment; the impact of technology on the jobs sector; policies that need to be put in place for sustainable hiring in future; and an outlook for SA’s economy in the rest of 2021.

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.

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