While SA has a structural unemployment problem — the economy has never been large or labour-absorbing enough to employ all those seeking a livelihood — it is worsening. The unemployment rate at the end of the second quarter edged up to 27.2% and the situation is even more dire, at 37.2%, when those who have given up looking for work are counted.in the unemployment rate was 37,2% Of those jobless people, close to 70% are in long-term unemployment, defined as 12 months or longer. Unemployment is worsening because since 2015 economic growth has failed to keep pace with population growth. This will continue until at least 2020, when there is, at most, a prospect of stronger growth. Added to that, is that the rate at which labour is absorbed when the economy grows has been falling since 2008. The result is that unemployment will continue to edge upwards. South Africans might not catch up to their previous level of per capita wealth for at least another five years.

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