PRETORIA, South Africa's unemployment rate rose to 27.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, the highest level since September 2003.
What we see is the highest (jobless rate) since September 2003, Statistician General Pali Lehohla said when releasing the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) report here Thursday.
The QLFS showed that the growth in employment by 144,000 was offset by the growth in the number of job-seekers by 433,000, driving the unemployment rate to 27.7 per cent.
According to the survey, on a quarter to quarter basis, the official unemployment rate increased by 1.2 per cent, showing that 6.2 million people were unemployed in the first quarter. Of the 433-000 job-seekers, 58 per cent were young people aged 15 to 34 and this pushed the youth unemployment rate up by 1.6 percentage points to 38.6 per cent.
Once this group is unemployed for a period of time, [it] gets harder and harder for them to get jobs, said Lehohla.
When looking at market rates by education level, the unemployment rate for those with less than matriculation was at 33.1 per cent, up from 31.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016. The unemployment rate for graduates went up from 7.0 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 7.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2017.
Lehohla said the labour participation rate of graduates was higher because the likelihood of them getting jobs was higher and because they continued searching for work.
Meanwhile, the increase in unemployment rate was recorded in seven of South Africa's nine provinces. The highest increase was recorded in Eastern Cape Province at 3.8 per cent.
The QLFS, which is a household based sample survey, showed that a total 16.2 million people aged 15 to 64 were employed in the first quarter of 2017. Formal sector jobs increased by 181,000 people quarter-on-quarter to 11.3 million.
The largest employment gains were recorded in manufacturing and finance. Mining grew for the first time in the first quarter after declining for four successive quarters.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK