According to the latest Statistics SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the number of employed persons dropped by 54,000 in the second quarter of 2021, ending up at 14,9 million. The number of unemployed increased by 584,000 to 7,8 million compared to the first quarter of 2021.
This means the official unemployment rate has increased from 32,6% in the first quarter of 2021 to 34,4% in the second quarter of 2021; this is the highest since the start of the QLFS in 2008. The unemployment rate, according to the expanded definition of unemployment, increased by 1,2 percentage points to 44,4% in quarter 2:2021 compared to quarter 1:2021. Unfortunately, South Africa’s unemployment rate has been recorded as the highest compared to their African counterparts such as Namibia and Nigeria.
The agricultural sector observed employment gains of 69,000 with provinces such as the Western Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Limpopo recording an increase in employment. A decrease has been noted in the Eastern Cape by 19,000, the Northern Cape by 9,000, Gauteng by 8,000 and Mpumalanga by 18,000.
According to an article on agrisa.co.za, most concerning is the sector continuing to see a decrease in skilled agriculture as it records a loss in employment from 62,000 in Q1:2021 to 45,000 in Q2:2021. This is a 27,4% quarter to quarter decrease and a 33,2% year on year decrease.