Unemployment rate in South Africa declines 24.3% in fourth quarter 2014

Posted On Tuesday, 10 February 2015 19:42 Published by
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South Africa's unemployment rate decreased from 25.4% in the third quarter to 24.3% in the fourth quarter, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).


Consequently the unemployment rate declined by 1.1% to 24.3% - the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2013 (24.1%)," said Stats SA as it released the findings of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS).

The QLFS shows employment increased by 203 000 between the third quarter of 2014 and fourth quarter of 2014, while unemployment decreased by 242 000, resulting in a decline of 39 000 in the labour force.

When it comes to employment following a decline in the absorption rate in the third quarter, the rate increased by 0.4% on a quarterly basis to 43% in the fourth quarter.
The survey, which polls households, said that 51.8% of people aged 15 - 64 were employed in Gauteng.

"Gauteng is a province that pulls for employment reasons. The reasons many people come to Gauteng is for employment prospects," said Stats SA's Deputy Director General: Population and Social Statistics, Kefiloe Masiteng.

The Eastern Cape, the report states, had the lowest absorption rate according to the report.
There were 15.3 million jobs in the fourth quarter, with only 43% of the working age people being employed. This is still below the pre-recessionary levels.

The largest contributors to the year-on-year increase in employment was construction (130 000) and community and social services (31 000). Employment decreased by the largest in private households and utilities industries on an annual basis (26 000 and 23 000 respectively).

With regards to unemployment in the fourth quarter of 2014, the number of unemployed people declined by 242 000 to 4.9 million. On an annual basis, the number of unemployed people increased by 79 000.

The report noted that the expanded unemployment rate, which relaxes the requirement for job searchers to be classified as unemployed, declined on a quarterly basis by 1.2% to 34.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The expanded unemployment rate was around or above 40% in three of the country's nine provinces namely the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West. According to the data, on a quarterly basis, the decline in the expanded unemployment rate was more pronounced for women, black Africans, youth aged 15 to 24 years and adults between the ages of 45 and 55 years.
When coming to job tenure between 2008 and 2014, the median monthly job tenure for employees increased from 36 months to 47 months. Employees who have shorter job tenures are predominantly black Africans, young people and employees with less than matric, among others.

Improvement welcomed despite tight outlook

Analysts said the decline in the unemployment rate is good news. "However, the numbers are not seasonally adjusted and the rise in employment in the fourth quarter could partly be attributed to a seasonal rise in temporary employment during the festive season," said Nedbank economists.
According to the analysts, the outlook for the labour market generally remains tight.

"The private sector is likely to remain reluctant to expand capacity and grow employment given a struggling local economy, the electricity supply constraint and slower than expected growth in some of the country's major trading partners, while the government sector has pledged to reduce the budget deficit and contain the nation's debt burden by, among other things, controlling the growth in public sector employment and wage increases.

"Conditions in the labour market will therefore remain unfavourable until the economy accelerates more convincingly." Nedbank said while figures show some improvement, unemployment remains exceptionally high and there is unlikely to be significant improvement in the year ahead.

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