South Africa’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 26.7% in the first quarter of 2018, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Tuesday.
Releasing the findings of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) at a media briefing in Tshwane, Stats SA said following a decline in the number of unemployed persons in the fourth quarter, the first quarter usually shows an increase in unemployment.
This, it said, is depicted by an increase in the number of unemployed persons in the first quarter of each year since 2013.
In the first quarter of 2018, there was increase of 100 000 unemployed people.
“The official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 26.7% in quarter one: 2018 compared to quarter four: 2017. The official unemployment rate increased in seven of the nine provinces,” said Stats SA.
The largest increase in the unemployment rate was recorded in Mpumalanga (up by 3.5%), Northern Cape (up by 2.4%), and North West (up by 1.9%).
Stats SA said on a year-on-year basis, the official unemployment rate declined by 1% with most of the country’s provinces recording declines.
However, increases were observed in the Eastern Cape (up by 3.4%) and Mpumalanga (up by 0.9%).
“Compared to quarter four: 2017, the expanded unemployment rate increased by 0.4% in quarter 1: 2018 to 36.7%. The largest increases were recorded in Mpumalanga (up by 2.8%), Eastern Cape (up by 1.2%) and North West (up by 1.1%). Compared to a year ago, the expanded unemployment rate increased by 0.2%,” said Stats SA.
The QLFS, which is a household based sample survey that collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 to 64 years old, said the South African working-age population increased by 153 000 or 0.4% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.
The data found that employment increased by 206 000 jobs in the first quarter of 2018.
The contributors to the increase were the community and social services (contributing 95 000 jobs), followed by manufacturing (58 000), construction (40 000), trade (36 000) and finance and other business services (30 000) industries.
Meanwhile, employment declines were recorded in transport (resulting in a loss of 41 000 jobs), and mining (14 000), utilities (6 000) and agriculture (3 000).