South Africa’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 of a percentage point to 27.1% for the fourth quarter of 2018, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced on Tuesday.
This means that the number of employed persons increased by 149 000 to 16.5 million in the last quarter of 2018, while the number of unemployed persons declined by 70 000 to 6.1 million when compared to third quarter of 2018.
Announcing the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) report at a media briefing in Tshwane, Statistician General Risenga Maluleke said this resulted in an increase of 79 000 (up by 0.3%) in the number of people in the labour force.
The absorption rate increased by 0.2 % of a percentage point to 43.3% and the unemployment rate declined by 0.4 of a percentage point to 27.1% compared to the third quarter of 2018.
Employment increased in three of the four sectors in quarter four, with the formal sector recording the largest employment gains of 92 000, followed by private households with 65 000 and agriculture with 7 000.
Informal sector employment, on the other hand, declined by 15 000 jobs.
The industries that recorded declines in employment were community and social services, with 51 000 losses, transport with 30 000, utilities with 22 000 and construction with 21 000.
Employment gains were recorded in five of the nine provinces in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The largest employment increases were recorded in Gauteng at 86 000, Free State with 33 000 and Western Cape with 26 000.
The Eastern Cape and North West recorded the largest employment losses with 15 000 and 6 000 respectively.
There was a net increase of 70 000 in the not economically active population, resulting in the number of discouraged work-seekers increasing by 108 000 while there was a decline of 38 000 in the number of people who were not economically active due to other reasons other than discouragement.
Between quarter four of 2017 and quarter four of 2018, the percentage of young persons aged 15–24 years, who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased by 1.4 percentage points to 31.1%.
The NEET rate was higher for females compared to that of their male counterparts in both time periods.
Compared to quarter four of 2017, the percentage of youth aged 15–34 years, who were not in NEET, increased by 0.5% from 38.4% to 38.9% in quarter four of 2018. This means that four in every ten young females were not in employment, education, or training.
The report compiled by Statistics South Africa is a household based sample survey that collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 to 64 years old.