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'We're in pain day and night' — SA reacts as unemployment rate reaches 32.5%

24 February 2021 - 10:30 By cebelihle bhengu
The official unemployment rate increased to 32.5% in the last quarter of 2020, Statistics SA announced on Tuesday.
The official unemployment rate increased to 32.5% in the last quarter of 2020, Statistics SA announced on Tuesday.

South Africans are discouraged by the latest unemployment figures from Stats SA, taking to social media to share their heartbreak.

The unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2020 had increased by 1.7 percentage points to 32.5% compared to the third quarter.

Some blamed the ruling party for loss of employment among millions, saying joblessness was leading to depression.

The EFF said while the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened unemployment, joblessness has long been a reality in SA.

It said the ruling party must use its power to lead industrial development “based on labour-intensive initiatives and protection of infant industries”. 

“This is a catastrophic state of affairs indicating the chronic failure of the government of the day. Unemployment in this country has been an economic pandemic that has characterised SA's reality for over three decades,” it said.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the fourth quarter showed that the number of employed people increased by 33,000 to 15 million. The number of unemployed people also increased by 701,000 to 7.2 million.

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who were not actively looking for work in the fourth quarter, is 11.1 million people.

Stats SA said employment increased in most sectors in the last quarter of 2020, except in mining and finance. In the formal sector, employment increased by 1.8% and informal sector employment was up by 2.6%.

In private households, employment increased by 6.8% and in agriculture by 0.3%.

“The industries which gained the most jobs are community and social services (170,000) and construction (86,000). Compared to quarter 4 in 2019, employment contracted in all industries. Most job losses were observed in finance (256,000), community and social services (241,000) and manufacturing (230,000)," said the report.

Here are some reactions from social media: