South Africa: Unemployment rate peaks at 35.3% in Q4 2021 reaching historic high

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Statistics South Africa published on Tuesday its Quaterly labour force survey. The results for the fourth quarter of 2021 show that the number of unemployed people continued to increase despite an economic growth on the same period.

The results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the fourth quarter of 2021 were published on Tuesday by Statistics South Africa. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the official unemployment rate reaches a historic 35,3%. It the highest rate since 2008, when QLFS started.

This report covers labour market activities of persons aged 15–64 years and the results show a 0,3% rate increase compared to the third quarter of 2021. Decreases were observed mainly in manufacturing (85 000), followed by construction (25 000), utilities (14 000) and Transport (13 000).

If the number of employed persons increased by 262 000 to 14,5 million the number of unemployed persons also increased by 278 000 to 7,9 million in the 4th quarter of 2021 compared to the 3rd quarter of 2021.

The QLFS for the fourth quarter of 202 was initiallly scheduled for a release on February. However, some data quality concerns that justified a delay "to allow time to do some quality checks before the results can be published", Statistics South Africa said in a statement. Adding that "the mainconcern was the response rates that have been declining over time since the introduction of Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)."

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