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South Africa records highest unemployment rate since 2008

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unemployment rate in South Africa now stands at 30,8%, the highest rate recorded since the start of the First Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) in 2008, latest government figures show.

The survey released by Stats SA indicates that the third quarter saw a huge number of people losing jobs an indication that the Covid-19 lockdown dealt a major blow to the job market in the country.

“The results indicate that the number of employed persons increased by 543 000 to 14,7 million in the 3rd quarter of 2020, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 2,2 million to 6,5 million compared to the 2nd quarter of 2020,” reads the report in part.

The majority of those in employment continued to receive pay during the lockdown. However, those with lower levels of education were more likely to receive reduced salaries than those with higher levels of education.

Due to the lockdown restrictions, Stats SA continued to collect data telephonically in the 3rd quarter of 2020, unlike the usual face-to-face interviews.

Those who were expected to work in the reference week during the national lockdown but could not do any work during that period indicated the national lockdown as the main reason for not actually working (71,7%), while the rest indicated ill health (13,3%); family responsibility (3,2%); or shift work arrangements (11,9%) as their main reasons for not working.

Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2020 where 17,0% indicated that they worked from home, this proportion declined to 10,9% in the 3rd quarter of 2020. Working from home was more prevalent in Gauteng and Western Cape and among Professionals and Managers (indicative of access to tools of trade to facilitate work from home for these workers).

As such, data could not be collected from the full sample but only from households for which contact numbers were available. The bias brought about by this has been adjusted for, and the details on how the adjustment was done are contained in the report.

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