Stats reveal province has highest unemployment rate

There are 781000 unemployed people in the Eastern Cape, up from 565000 last year, which means 216000 jobs were lost between July last year and September this year.

This makes it the province with the highest unemployment rate of 35.5% in the third quarter of this year – substantially higher than the national figure of 27.7%.

Outgoing Statistician-General Pali Lehohla released the latest quarterly labour force survey statistics in Pretoria yesterday, which show that there has been a 1.1 percentage point increase of unemployment compared to the previous quarter, where the Eastern Cape stood at 34.4%, or a 7.3 percentage point increase compared to the same period last year, which stood at 28.2%.

Of the 216000 jobs that were lost in the province in the past year, 22000 were lost between April and September this year.

According to the latest report, the province’s expanded unemployment rate stood at 45.3% (and 36.8% nationally) at the end of this September, a 0.8 percentage point increase compared to the last quarter, or a 4.0 percentage point increase compared to the same period last year.

The expanded unemployment rate includes those who wanted to work but did not look for work during the period.

In the province’s two metropolitan municipalities, Buffalo City Metro (BCM) and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM), things are equally gloomy.

In BCM, the unemployment rate has increased by 6.0 percentage points compared to this time last year. It increased from 28.1% to 34.1% in the past year, while during the same period, the number of those unemployed increased from 93000 to 127000.

In NMBM, the unemployment figure at the end of September stood at 36.0%, up 4.2 percentage points from the same period last year ( 31.8%). The number of those unemployed in the Bay increased from 159000 to 202000.

More than two million people between the ages of 15 and 64 were not economically active in the province by the end of September, while more than 360000 are described as “discouraged work-seekers”.

Lehohla’s report further shows that the number employed in the agriculture sector decreased from 100000 to 86000, in manufacturing from 142000 to 128000, in construction from 180000 to 157000, and in the transport sector from 72000 to 67000.

On the bright side, those employed by the finance sector increased from 134000 to 169000, and those employed by private households increased from 113000 to 119000.

The number of those not in education and not in employment in the province increased from 1.8 million to 1.9 million this year.

Meanwhile, employment increased in six of the country’s nine provinces, compared to the same period last year, with Limpopo recording the largest increase of jobs. —


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