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Northern Cape has biggest drop in unemployment rate

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In terms of the expanded unemployment rate, 219 000 people in the Province are unemployed

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THE NORTHERN Cape has shown the largest decline nationally in the unemployment rate, which has dropped over the last year by a significant 4.9 percent

This is according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the fourth quarter of 2017 released by Statistics South Africa yesterday.

The unemployment rate in the Province for the last quarter of 2017 (October to December) was 27.1 percent. In the previous quarter (July to September 2017) it was 29.9 percent, while for the last quarter of 2016 it was 32 percent.

The expanded unemployment rate has also dropped from 43.3 percent in the last quarter of 2016 to 40.5 percent during the same period in 2017.

The total number of unemployed people in the Province is 120 000 (131 000 in the third quarter of 2017 and
140 000 in the fourth quarter of 2016). A total of 249 000 – out of a total labour force of 441 000 – in the Province are not economically active, while 65 000 are classified as discouraged job-seekers.

In terms of the expanded unemployment rate, 219 000 people in the Province are unemployed.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) is a household-based sample survey conducted by Stats SA. It collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years and older who live in South Africa.

While the unemployment rate dropped in the Northern Cape, there was a corresponding increase in the number of employed people which rose from 298 000 in 2016 to 321 000 in 2017 (307 000 in the third quarter of 2017), an increase of 7.9 percent year-on-year.

Nationally the number of employed persons decreased in five of the nine provinces between the third quarter of 2017 and the fourth 2017 quarter. The largest employment losses were recorded in Gauteng (77 000), followed by Limpopo (35 000) and Eastern Cape (30 000), while Western Cape
(92 000) and Mpumalanga (38 000) recorded the largest employment gains.

Compared to the second quarter of 2016, employment increased in six of the nine provinces, with Western Cape recording the largest increase of 106 000 jobs, followed by Mpumalanga with 87 000 jobs. During the same period, employment losses were recorded in Gauteng (121 000), Eastern Cape
(57 000) and KwaZulu-Natal (28 000).

A summary of the labour market in the Northern Cape for October to December 2017 reflects an unemployment rate of 27.1 percent, an expanded unemployment rate of 40.5 percent, an absorption rate of 40.7 percent and a labour force participation rate of 55.9 percent.

A total of 55 000 people are employed in the agricultural sector (up from 39 000 – an increase of 42.4 percent from September to October 2017).

Mining, however, saw a massive 24.5 percent decrease quarter-on-quarter from 33 000 in July to September 2017 to 25 000 in October to December 2017.

The manufacturing sector also decreased quarter-to-quarter by six percent. Year-on-year, the number of people employed in this sector in the Province dropped from 15 000 in October to December 2016 to 9 000 in 2017 – a drop of 41.8 percent.

More people were employed in the construction industry in the Province, with 26 000 people employed in this sector in the last quarter of 2017 in comparison with 22 000 at the end of 2016, and 21 000 in the third quarter of 2017.

Trade remained fairly static with 45 000 people employed in this sector, while 7 000 were employed in utilities.

The transport sector employed 12 000 people in the last quarter of 2017 (up from 9 000 in the previous quarter), while the finance sector employed 26 000 people (up from
22 000 quarter-on-quarter and 16 000 year-on-year). The community and social services sector employed
100 000 (up from 85 000 year-on-year and 97 000 quarter-on-quarter.

A total of 22 000 were employed in private households in the Province in the last quarter of 2017, down from 28 000 in the third quarter, while year-on-year this figure was 23 000 in the last quarter of 2016.

Nationally there was a decrease of 351 000 in the labour force in the fourth quarter of 2017, with employment and unemployment decreasing by 21 000 and 330 000 respectively. This resulted in a decline in the unemployment rate by one percentage point to 26.7 percent.

Formal sector employment declined by 135 000 while the informal sector employment increased by 119 000 compared to the third quarter of 2017.

Declines in finance (91 000), trade (45 000), private households (43 000) and mining industries
(35 000) contributed mostly to the net loss in employment.

However, employment was created in community, social and personal services (75 000), manufacturing (42 000), agriculture (39 000), construction (26 000) and transport (13 000) in the same period.