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SA’s unemployment rate hits record high, black women the most vulnerable

Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) released the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the second quarter of 2021 on Tuesday, which revealed that the country’s unemployment rate increased by 1.8℅, hitting a recording high of 34.4%.

According to the survey, at 38.2℅, the unemployment rate among black South Africans remains higher than the national average and other population groups.

Black South African women remain the most vulnerable group with an unemployment rate of 41℅, 4.2℅ higher than the national average, the survey revealed.

“Irrespective of gender, the black African and coloured population groups remain vulnerable in the labour market,” StatsSA said.

Unemployment among the youth aged between 15 and 24 and 25 and 34 recorded the highest rates of unemployment at 64.4% and 42.9% respectively, the agency said.

StatsSA said the country’s labour market is more favourable to men then women.

The agency said women in the country and around the world continue to face challenges with regards to securing employment.

“Once they are in employment, appointments to decision-making positions and jobs in certain sectors, or of certain characteristics, remain elusive,” the agency said.

According to the survey, women are more likely then men to be in unpaid work.

“The proportion of men in employment is higher than that of women; more men than women are participating in the labour market as the labour force participation rate of men is higher than that of women; and the unemployment rate among men is lower than amongst women. The rate of unemployment among women was 36,8% in the 2nd quarter of 2021 compared to 32,4% amongst men according to the official definition of unemployment. The unemployment rate among black African women was 41,0% during this period compared to 8,2% among white women, 22,4% among Indian/Asian women and 29,9% among coloured women.

“According to the expanded definition, the rate of unemployment among women, at 48,7%, was 8,1 percentage points higher than among their male counterparts in the 2nd quarter of 2021.

“Women accounted for 43,4% of total employment in the second quarter of 2021. Of those in managerial positions, 66,9% were men compared to 33,1% of women. Overall, close to a third (30,1%) of all people who had jobs in the 2nd quarter of 2021 were employed in Elementary and Domestic work occupations. Women dominated the Domestic worker, Clerical and Technical occupations while the rest of the occupations were dominated by men. Only 5,5% of Domestic worker jobs were occupied by men while only 11,9% of Craft and related trade jobs were occupied by women.”

Read a summary of the survey here.

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