The unemployment rate in SA increased to 34.9% in the third quarter of 2021 — the highest since the start of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) in 2008, Stats SA has revealed.
On Tuesday Stats SA released the results of the QLFS for the third quarter of 2021, which show that the number of employed people decreased by 660,000 in the third quarter to 14.3-million.
Worse yet, the data showed “the unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment increased by 2.2 percentage points to 46.6% in quarter 3 2021 compared to quarter 2 2021”.
According to the survey, the only employment increase was observed in the informal sector, while employment losses were observed in the formal sector, private households and the agricultural sector.
“Between quarter 2 of 2021 and quarter 3 of 2021, the number of employed people decreased in all industries with the exception of finance, where employment increased by 138,000.
“The largest decrease in employment was recorded in trade (309,000), followed by community and social services (210,000) and construction and private households (65,000 each),” reads the survey.
The survey noted seven out of eight industries recorded formal sector employment losses.
It said 571,000 job losses in formal sector employment were mainly driven by the trade, community and social services, construction and mining industries.
Finance is the only industry that experienced gains in formal sector employment in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the second quarter.
According to the survey, the unemployment rate among women was 37.3% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to 32.9% among men, according to the official definition of unemployment.
The official unemployment rate among black women was 41.5% during this period, compared to 9.9% among white women, 25.2% among Indian/Asian women, and 29.1% among coloured women.