Statistics South Africa released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Quarter 2 on Tuesday, 24 August 2021. According to the survey, Unemployment has hit a record high of 34.4%, or 7.8 million jobless people. 3,3 million people are discouraged to look for work.

This is an increase of 1,8% compared to Quarter 1 and also the highest unemployment rate recorded since the survey started in 2008. Gauteng Province recorded the third highest unemployment rate in provinces with Eastern Cape the highest.

Formal sector employment – which accounts for 68.3% of total employment – saw a loss of 375 000 jobs during the quarter. This was mainly due to the National Lockdown. However, employment in the informal sector, private households and agriculture increased.

Other trends show that unemployment was lower for graduates, compared to those individuals who only have matric or less than matric. The black African population also has a higher rate of unemployment (38.2%) than the national average and that of other population groups, Stats SA said.

“Black African women are the most vulnerable with an unemployment rate of 41%.”

Stats SA highlighted that the labour market is more favourable to men than it is to women. The official unemployment rate for women was 36.8%, compared to 32.4% for men.

Unemployment mostly burdens the youth. Nearly two-thirds (64.4%) of those aged 15 to 24 are unemployed, and 42.9% of those aged 25 to 34 are unemployed.

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