South Africa’s Unemployment Rate Falls First Time in Two Years

May 31, 2022
South Africa's unemployment rate

By Adedapo Adesanya

South Africa’s unemployment rate fell to 34.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 from 35.3 per cent in the final quarter of last year, according to the country’s statistics agency, Statistics South Africa.

In the report released on Tuesday, it indicated that the drop in the unemployment rate occurred for the first time in nearly two years.

The agency said the number of unemployed totalled 7.862 million people in the three months to end-March, compared with 7.921 million people in the previous three months.

According to an expanded definition of unemployment that includes those discouraged from seeking work, 45.5 per cent of the labour force was without work in the first quarter, from 46.2 per cent in the prior quarter.

South Africa’s economy rebounded quicker than expected from the COVID-19 pandemic last year, but growth in 2022 is expected to slow to a meagre 1.7% according to the central bank’s latest forecast.

Analysts say Africa’s most industrialised nation needs higher rates of growth to make a meaningful dent in poverty and unemployment.

The increase in unemployment had led to heightened tension which saw violence against foreign workers from Zimbabwe and Nigeria.

Poverty, inequality and joblessness run high in South Africa, nearly three decades after the end of apartheid.

In the quarter under review, job gains were recorded mainly in the community and social services sector, followed by manufacturing while the country’s trade sector also had job gains.

Meanwhile, sectors including finance, construction and agriculture continued to lose jobs.

The country was hit hard by the pandemic and since July 2020 that the number of jobless has been rising steadily.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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