'You're lucky if you still have a job' — SA reacts to latest unemployment figures
The latest quarterly labour force survey from Stats SA has garnered strong reaction from politicians and other South Africans as many questioned the “confusing” unemployment figures.
Stats SA on Tuesday said SA shed 2.2 million jobs in the second quarter during the lockdown. SA was forced to temporarily shut many companies considered non-essential service providers during lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The economy gradually reopened as the government eased lockdown regulations in June.
According to the report, unemployment decreased to 23.3% in the second quarter, from 30.1% in the first quarter. Stats SA explained that the number of unemployed people declined because fewer people were actively looking for work in the lockdown.
“To fall into the category of unemployed, people must be actively looking for work which wasn't possible during lockdown. These people, therefore, fall into the 'not economically active' category,” explained Stats SA.
It added that the number of “discouraged job seekers” decreased by 447,000. People who were not economically active, for reasons other than discouragement, increased by 5.6 million, according to the report.
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi questioned Stats SA's research methods.
“How can Stats SA still explain unemployment using categories such as 'actively looking for work' during Covid-19 lockdown? How can people actively look for work during lockdown?” he asked.
He added that it was ridiculous to decide who was or wasn't looking for a job under lockdown.
Former Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba claimed that the lockdown had left some in government rich, while millions of South Africans were left unemployed.
“While many in government have come out of lockdown as Covid-millionaires, two million more South Africans have come out of it without a job. That's over two million more South Africans who can't support their families,” he said.
On social media, many slammed the “reduced unemployment” statistics and called on president Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene.
Here's some of the reactions:
South Africa is a joke under President Ramaphosa. Unemployment and inequality it is rising. We have talkshop job summits, seminars, conferences but nothing to show even today. Action pls Mr President.— Teacher Maluleke (@TeacherMalulek2) September 29, 2020
Unemployment rate is based on numbers of people who are actively looking for employment and during the COVID-19 crisis people stopped looking for employment and stop being active in the labour market.— Ivyn Sambo (@IvynSambo) September 29, 2020
So comrades must stop tweeting that Rama is working 🥶.
Unemployment is sitting at a staggering 42% in South Africa😭😭😭— ATM_Gauteng #VoteATM2021 (@ATM_Gauteng) September 29, 2020
The most sick joke of all times. Unemployment in South Africa is down!— Rose Mphahlele (@KwaMhlanga123) September 30, 2020