Unemployment data offer jobless little joy
bdlive.co.za - Nov 3rd 2014, 11:37
Unemployment was largely flat in the third quarter as the economy managed to create a small number of jobs while people gave up actively seeking work.
SA’s official unemployment rate does not count people who are not actively looking for work.
Statistics SA’s quarterly labour force survey showed on Thursday that the unemployment rate fell to 25.4% in the third quarter from 25.5% in the second. It showed that more than 5-million people actively looking for jobs were unable to find work. Figures also showed that 95,000 people gave up looking for employment over the quarter.
Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said in an interview on Thursday of even greater concern was that 1.3-million people had been in long-term unemployment — meaning they had sought jobs in vain for more than five years.
"These 1.3-million people are condemned because there is no hope of getting a new job. These are the people that policy should be focusing on," he said.
While weak economic growth was contributing to unemployment, higher rates of economic growth would not necessarily ensure the eradication of unemployment, Mr Lehohla said. Instead, policies could be aimed at giving people more skills and ensuring that more people received the highest levels of education, particularly among blacks where the levels of education were low.
The economy created 22,000 jobs in the third quarter with increases being recorded in five of the 10 industries. The largest decrease in employment was observed in private households, which includes domestic work, while the largest increase was recorded in the construction industry.
Mr Lehohla said more people should be skilled in construction work. "Those that are unskilled should be trained in skills relating to construction because this is the sector that is creating jobs. This is also a sector that will benefit a lot from government’s infrastructure development programme over the next few years," he said.
Mercantile Bank CEO Karl Kumbier said entrepreneurs have made a "meaningful contribution" to employment creation despite the difficult economic environment.
"It is important to support entrepreneurs by creating an economic and legislative environment that makes it easy for them to build thriving businesses and create more jobs," Mr Kumbier said.
Established business owners were overburdened by "excessive legislation" and operated in one of the most highly regulated labour environments.
The quarterly labour force survey is a household-based sample survey conducted by Statistics SA that collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 to 64 years.
Statistics SA said higher proportions of those employed with matric and tertiary education were white and Indian or Asian. "The proportions of the employed with educational levels of matric and higher were lower among black Africans and among the coloured population," the survey reported.From DFM Publishers (Pty) Ltd
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