The unemployment rate in South Africa has increased by 1.7% percentage points to 32.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020. Statistician General, Risenga Maluleke, released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey with these figures on Tuesday morning in Pretoria.
This means 7.2 million people were jobless as at the end of 2020, making this the highest unemployment rate recorded in the country in 12 years.
The unemployment figures were released just a day before Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, delivers his Budget speech, which many hope will focus on the country's plan to help the economy recover from the damage caused by COVID-19, therefore creating the much needed jobs.
“The number of unemployed persons ... increased by 701 000 to 7.2 million compared to the third quarter of 2020, resulting in an increase of 1 million, up by 4.9%,” Maluleke said.
“The movement was proportional more towards the unemployment than for the employed, which resulted in a significant increase of 1.7% points in the official unemployment rate to 32.5%, the highest since the start of Quarter Labour Force Survey (QLFS),” said the country's top statistician.
But there were some positives.
“The Quarterly Labour Force Survey QLFS for the fourth quarter of 2020 show that the number of employed persons increased by 333 000 to 15 million in the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said.
Maluleke added that the number of discouraged work seekers decreased by 235 000 and the number of people who were not economically active decreased by 1.1 million.