What to expect from this week’s unemployment numbers

Statistics South Africa is about to launch is Labour Force Survey for Q3 2020 on Thursday (12 November), with analysts wanting to the job numbers for indicators of South Africa’s financial recovery post-lockdown.

The official Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) figures from StatsSA for Q2 2020 confirmed that 2.2 million folks misplaced their jobs in South Africa between the primary and second quarter of the yr.

Because many individuals with out paying work stopped searching for employment through the lockdown interval, Stats SA reported the unemployment rate really falling to 23.3% through the interval – a 6.8 share level decline from the 30.1% recorded within the earlier quarter – nevertheless, this was not a full reflection of the job losses skilled underneath lockdown.

In a analysis observe on Monday (9 November), Nedbank mentioned that StatsSA’s information for the second quarter was sudden on condition that the nation was within the midst of the strictest portion of the lockdown, which shut down many of the economic system.

“The ‘better’ unemployment figure in the second quarter was the result of a shrinkage in the labour force and not the result of an increase in jobs,” Nedbank mentioned.

“In order to forecast the third quarter unemployment rate one would need to have a view on when the labour force will return to normal, something that is very difficult to predict.”

The financial institution mentioned that it expects households to re-enter the labour pressure as lockdown measures chill out additional, and if this occurs within the absence of serious job creation – which is probably going – the unemployment rate will enhance over the subsequent two quarters.

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Using the broader definition of unemployment, which incorporates individuals who need paid employment however have given up searching for it, South Africa’s unemployment rate elevated by 2.3 share factors to 42% in Q2.

Research agency Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) mentioned that this employment ratio higher underscores the dimensions of job losses due to the pandemic.

“From 2010 to 2019 South Africa’s employment ratio remained around 40%, but in the second quarter of 2020 it fell to a record low of 36%,” the group mentioned in a observe final week.

“That is, just over a third of the country’s adult population said they were employed in the second quarter of 2020.”

TIPS mentioned that the pandemic-related job losses aggravated already low employment ranges within the nation. According to the World Bank (2019), the worldwide employment ratio was 58% in 2019, down from 62% within the early Nineties.

“Lower-middle-income countries reported a 54% employment ratio, while upper-middle-income countries, which include South Africa, reported an employment ratio of 60%,” it mentioned.

StatsSA’s information reveals that the results of the Covid-19 shock have been notably extreme on lower-level employees in high-risk occupations. That means it has deepened the pre-existing inequalities in South Africa’s labour market, TIPS mentioned.

Read: New information reveals the make-up of South Africans with jobs


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