Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
1 minute read
29 Sep 2020
12:30 pm

Low drop in unemployment of 6,8% during hard lockdown surprises

Ina Opperman

Contrary to the expected blood bath, unemployment in South Africa declined by 2,8 million to 4,3 million compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Image: iStock.

There was a decrease of 5 million (21,4%) in the number of people in the labour force during the second quarter of 2020 – when the country went into Covid-19 Stage 5 hard lockdown – compared with the same quarter in 2019, Stats SA announced on Tuesday in its Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the second quarter of 2020.

The number of employed people in the country decreased by 2,2 million to 14,1 million compared to the first quarter of 2020.

The number of discouraged work-seekers, like the number of unemployed, decreased by 447 000, while the number of people who were not economically active for other reasons increased by 5,6 million between the two quarters, resulting in a net increase of 5,2 million in the population who are not economically active.

These changes resulted in a significant decrease of 6,8 percentage points in the official unemployment rate that was 30,1% in the first quarter, to 23,3% in the second quarter.

However, the unemployment rate, according to the expanded definition of unemployment, increased by 2,3 percentage points to 42,0% in the second compared to the first quarter of 2020.

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