Cheryl Kahla
Audience and Content Strategist
1 minute read
29 Mar 2022
12:57 pm

SA unemployment rate breaks new record, Black women still most vulnerable

Cheryl Kahla

Black South African women and youth most affected by unemployment during 2021's fourth quarter.

SA's unemployment rate is at its highest ever. Photo: iStock

South Africa’s unemployment rate soared passed the 35% threshold in the fourth quarter, as per Statistic South Africa’s (Stats SA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS).

Unemployment in South Africa grew by 0.4 of a percentage point to reach 35.3% in the final quarter (Q4) of 2021, according to Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke.

South Africa now has an employed workforce of 14.5 million (an increase of approximately 262,000), while unemployed persons now number 7.9 million (278,000 more since 2021 Q3).

Black African women are still the most vulnerable, with an unemployment rate of 42,4% during Q4 of 2021 – approximately 4,2 percentage points higher than the national average.

In addition, youth aged 15 and 24 years of age – as well as the group 25 to 34 years – recorded the highest unemployment rates (66,5% and 43,5% respectively).

Stats SA said the changes in the labour market resulted in the official unemployment rate increasing by 0.4 of a percentage point from 34.9% in Q3.

Also read: ManpowerGroup SA: More jobs in SA soon

“The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment decreased by 0.4 of a percentage point to 46.2 % in quarter 4 2021 compared to quarter 3 2021,” Maluleke said.

Meanwhile, formal sector employment increased by 143,000 jobs between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

The informal sector, however, lost approximately 48,000 jobs during the same period. The Manufacturing and Construction industries were the most severely affected.

Employment during Covid-19

As per Stats SA, 92,1% of the employed workforce continued to receive a salary during lockdown in the fourth quarter (92,2% during Q3.)

Of the 14,5 million persons who were employed during Q4, eight in every 10 (85,5%) employees were expected to work during the national lockdown by their employers.

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