Unemployment in South Africa, according to the expanded definition, has increased by 7.5 percentage points to 43.1% in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the second quarter of the year, according to the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) issued by StatsSA on Thursday.
The results indicate large movements from the “other not economically active” category to “employed” and “unemployed” between the second and third quarters of 2020. The number of employed people increased by 543 000 (3.8%) to 14.7 million compared to the second quarter of 2020.
Unemployment increased substantially by 2.2 million (52.1%) to 6.5 million compared to the second quarter, leading to an increase of 2.8 million (15.1%) in the number of people in the labour force. The number of discouraged jobseekers increased by 225 000 (9.1%), while the number of people who were not economically active for other reasons decreased by 2.9 million (15.8%) between the two quarters, resulting in a net decrease of 2.6 million (12.8%) in the not economically active population.
Formal sector employment increased by 242 000 (2.4%), informal sector employment by 176 000 (7.7%) and private households by 116 000 (11.5%). Employment in agriculture increased by 9000 (1.1%).
Employment increased in all industries, except utilities and transport, while more jobs were gained in finance (200,000), community and social services (137,000) and private households (116,000). Compared to the third quarter of 2019, employment contracted in all industries, except mining, where it remained unchanged in the third quarter of 2020. Most job losses were observed in trade (400,000), manufacturing (300,000), community and social services (298,000) and construction (259,000).
More than seven out of 10 people (73.2%) were expected to work during the national lockdown. They were predominately men, except in the community and social services sector and private households, where the majority were women.
Those who were expected to work during the national lockdown, but could not do any work, indicated the national lockdown as the main reason for not actually working (71.7%). In addition, compared to the second quarter, when 17.0% indicated that they worked from home, 10.9% were working from home in the third quarter, mostly professionals and managers in Gauteng and the Western Cape.