Unemployment decreases by one percent in final quarter of 2017


Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) reports that unemployment decreased by one percent during the final quarter of 2017.

StatsSA released its Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the fourth quarter of 2017 on Tuesday. The current unemployment rate sits at 26.7 percent, which is still unacceptably high by any standards.

The stats indicate a decrease of 351 000 in the labour force in quarter four of 2017, with employment and unemployment decreasing by 21 000 and 330 000 respectively.

The absorption rate declined by 0,2 of a percentage point to 43,1 percent and the labour force participation declined by 1.1 percentage points to 58,8 percent quarter-to-quarter.

Formal sector employment declined by 135 000 while the informal sector employment increased by 119 000 compared to the third quarter of 2017.

Declines in finance (91 000), trade (45 000), private households (43 000), and mining industries (35 000) contributed mostly to the net loss in employment.

However, employment was created in community, social and personal services (75 000), manufacturing (42 000), agriculture (39 000), construction (26 000) and transport (13 000) in the same period.

Compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, employment increased by 102 000 or 0,6 percent while unemployment grew by 99 000 or 1,7 percent in quarter four of 2017.

The official unemployment rate decreased by 1,0 percentage point in the final quarter of 2017, compared to the third quarter of 2017.

The largest decline in the unemployment rate was recorded in Northern Cape (2,8 percentage points), Western Cape (2,4 percentage points) and North West (2,3 percentage points).