The official unemployment rate has decreased from 30.1% in the first 3 months of the year to the current percentage of 23.3%.
The national lockdown resulted in many unemployed people having to stay at home, making them unable to look for work. Even though the unemployment rate has decreased, 2.2 million jobs were lost in the second quarter of the year.
Stats SA did not classify people who were not looking for work as “unemployed”, raising questions about the accuracy of the survey.
Old Mutual Chief Economist, Johann Els said the lockdown made it difficult for Stats SA to survey the labour force
“Stats SA says they switched from in-person surveying to telephonic surveying and that the sample was also a lot lower. So the numbers seem horrific, as one would expect given the horrific GDP numbers we have for the second quarter but there were lots of issues around these numbers...We expected significant job losses in the second quarter.”
He predicted that the numbers would get worse over time as the covid-19 support packages from the government fall away. Els mentioned how people in South Africa have lost faith in the country’s economy.
“The employment numbers have always been difficult...You need the economy to grow to generate jobs but you also need jobs to help the economy in terms of tax payment”
He said South Africa will eventually see gradual growth and improvement, but the country needs better economic and employment policies.
“We’ll see better numbers but it’ll take a long time to the levels we had before the Covid crisis”