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SA's new unemployment rate record: 'It's a moral, political and social tragedy'

24 August 2021 7:14 PM
Tags:
Unemployment
The Money Show
Stats SA
Job creation
Bruce Whitfield
Youth unemployment
Jobs
Absa
Thabi Leoka
Quarterly Labour Force Survey
unemployment rate
Dr Thabi Leoka
Peter Worthington
structural reform

Fixing the crisis of unemployment (now at 34,4%): The Money Show interviews economists Dr Thabi Leoka and Peter Worthington (Absa)
© petertt/123rf.com

South Africa's unemployment numbers have hit another record.

Stats SA says they increased from 32,6% in the first quarter of 2021 to a 34,4% in the 2nd quarter.

RELATED: Unemployment rate rises to record 34.4%

In terms of the expanded definition of unemployment, this puts the rate at 44.4%.

Never before have so many people in South Africa been unemployed. Something's got to give. More than 44% - 12 million of us, that's 120 FNB Stadiums full of people - cannot find work.

Bruce Whitfield, The Money Show host

Future generations are going to hold us to account for this, warns Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show.

RELATED: Action needed to shift 'massive number' of SA youth facing lifetime unemployment

He interviews independent economist Dr Thabi Leoka and Absa Senior Economist Peter Worthington.

The numbers have been terrible for a while; they're getting worse. It is a moral and political and social tragedy, really.

Peter Worthington, Senior Economist - Absa

Worthington emphasizes the fact that the country's unemployment problem had been getting worse even before Covid-19, which only served to exacerbate the situation.

There needs to be a set of broad interventions to really get the growth rates up because South Africa has what we would call a fairly low elasticity of employment with respect to growth.... a 1% increase in GDP per annum doesn't really generate very many jobs...

Peter Worthington, Senior Economist - Absa

In general in South Africa, we're really only seen the economy start to generate jobs in a substantial fashion when growth starts to approach 3%.

Peter Worthington, Senior Economist - Absa

So all the structural reforms that are on the to-do list... those all are necessary to get our growth rate up and start generating jobs...

Peter Worthington, Senior Economist - Absa

Worthington outlines some "very targeted" structural reforms that would have a strong impact.

These include educational reforms and a well-funded and well-run employment matching service to counter what is the high cost of job hunting for the majority of South Africans.

Economist Dr Thabi Leoka shares his dismay at the level of youth unemployment.

If you had to move those people between the ages of 15 and 34 ten years up... the youth that are supposed to occupy positions of leadership... and they don't have the foundation to do so...

Dr Thabi Leoka, Economist

We had the example a few weeks ago of what this ticking time bomb looks like and if we don't react to these numbers we'll see more and more riots and social unrest as a result of unemployment... and poverty levels that are increasing.

Dr Thabi Leoka, Economist

Hear more about the interventions suggested by the two economists in the audio clips below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : SA's new unemployment rate record: 'It's a moral, political and social tragedy'




24 August 2021 7:14 PM
Tags:
Unemployment
The Money Show
Stats SA
Job creation
Bruce Whitfield
Youth unemployment
Jobs
Absa
Thabi Leoka
Quarterly Labour Force Survey
unemployment rate
Dr Thabi Leoka
Peter Worthington
structural reform

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