'Rate of jobless youth a crisis'

16.9-million receive social grants

08 August 2017 - 06:00 By BusinessLIVE
An unemployed young South African pleads for money or food at a Johannesburg street corner.
An unemployed young South African pleads for money or food at a Johannesburg street corner.
Image: REUTERS

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 27.7% in the June quarter from the March quarter, dashing hopes of a slight improvement.

The overall number of employed South Africans fell by 113000 to 16.1-million, Stats SA reported yesterday.

The country's working- age population grew by 157000 to 37.2-million.

The number of formal- sector jobs declined by 144000 from March to June.

Worst hit was construction; 110000 jobs were lost over the quarter. The mining industry shed 13000 jobs.

The trade sector hired 58000 additional people, finance added 17000 and manufacturing 10000 jobs.

The informal sector added 80000 jobs in the second quarter, helping to offset 40000 jobs lost in the agricultural sector; 8000 fewer domestic workers were employed from March to June.

"According to the expanded definition of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers, the unemployment rate is a very worrying 36.6%, up from 36.4% in the first quarter. In addition, the unemployment rate for people younger than 25, using the expanded definition, is a shockingly high 67.4%.

"Clearly, the rate of youth unemployed has become a national crisis, with significant social, economic and political implications," Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings said.

"The number of social grants paid will increase, putting further strain on the government's fiscal position. In 2000 a social grant was paid to 2.9million people. By 2015 the number of social grant recipients was 16.9-million." 

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