Business Edge | South Africa’s Unemployment Rises

The Congress of Trade Unions in South Africa has issued a warning that the country is approaching a record high, heading towards 50%. By the end of Q4 2021, the official unemployment rate jumped 0.4% to 35.3%, going by data released by Statistics South Africa. The expanded unemployment rate however is now at 46.2%. The midweek edition of Business Edge focuses on South Africa’s rising unemployment rate, with Tolulope Adeleru-Balogun hosting Johannes Khosa, an analyst at Nedbank, who joins in from Johannesburg.

The numbers are stark: as of the third quarter of 2021, the unemployment rate was 34%. It has now crossed the 35% mark, making South Africa the country with the highest unemployment rate in the world. As an analyst with one of the largest financial institutions in the country, Johannes Khosa isn’t quite surprised at the current situation. “Coming off the lockdown, the economy is rebounding gradually. In the third quarter of last year as well, there was social unrest in some parts of the country,” he says. To him, the low level of COIVD restrictions and resumption of business activities meant that citizens were gradually having renewed faith of finding jobs and they’ve been looking. “Because of the ratio between the labour force and the number of jobs created, we saw an increase in the unemployment rate.”

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Business Edge also touches on the difference between the official rate and the expanded rate. “The expanded rate includes people who are not actively searching for jobs, either because they’ve been retrenched or the jobs don’t exist anymore or for whatever reason,” Khosa says. That in itself is a worrisome trend. “It is very worrying… South Africa already is the most unequal society in the world. It didn’t just start now; for so many years, South Africa has been underperforming.”

Watch in full above.

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