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Spike in unemployment rate

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A total of 346 000 people in the Province are not economically active, while 76 000 are discouraged work seekers.

File image. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

THE UNEMPLOYMENT rate in the Northern Cape has rocketed to 29.8%, with the expanded unemployment rate in the Province now sitting at 43%.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the third quarter of 2019, the official unemployment rate in the country (year-on-year) has increased in all provinces except the Free State. The largest increase was observed in KwaZulu-Natal (up by 2.9%), followed by the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga with increases of 2.8 percentage points each.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in the country is 29.1%.

The highest unemployment rate is in the Eastern Cape at 36.5%, followed by Mpumalanga (35.3%) and the Free State (34.5%). The lowest is Limpopo (21.4%) and the Western Cape (21.5%).

In the Northern Cape, there are 322 000 people employed (up from 301 000 in the second quarter of this year), while 137 000 are unemployed (up from 125 000 in the previous quarter). A total of 346 000 people in the Province are not economically active, while 76 000 are discouraged work seekers.

The number of people employed in the Province in the agricultural sector has remained constant in the last quarter at 33 000, while those employed in the mining sector has increased from 26 000 in the second quarter of this year to 29 000 in the last quarter.

The manufacturing sector has dropped slightly from 17 000 to 15 000, while utilities has also dropped from 3 000 to 2 000.

Construction, which dropped from a low of 16 000 in the second quarter of this year improved by more than 20% to 20 000. In the third quarter of last year, this sector provided employment for 25 000 people in the Province.

Trade dropped from 49 000 to 47 000 in the last quarter, while transport remained constant at 9 000 (down from 14 000 this time last year).

The financial sector dropped slightly from 22 000 in the second quarter of this year to 21 000 in the third quarter, while community and social services increased by 14.4% in the last quarter from 101 000 to 116 000.

The number of people employed in private households in the Province increased to 30 000 this quarter from 25 000 in the second quarter of this year – an increase of 22.8%.

A total of 224 000 people are employed in the formal sector (non-agricultural), while 35 000 are employed in the informal sector.

The number of people in subsistence farming in the Province has increased to 18 000, while 140 000 (up from 115 000 in the last quarter) fetch water or collect wood.

Nationally, the working-age population increased by 149 000 or 0.4% in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the second quarter of the same year.

Compared to the third quarter of last year, the working-age population increased by 597 000 or 1.6%.

The number of employed persons increased by 62 000 to 16.4 million in Q3: 2019, and the number of unemployed persons also increased by 78 000 to 6.7 million compared to Q2: 2019, resulting in an increase of 141 000 (up by 0.6%) in the number of people in the labour force.

The absorption rate remained constant at 42.4% while the unemployment and the labour force participation rates increased by 0.1 of a percentage point each to 29.1% and 59.9% respectively compared to the second quarter of 2019.

The largest employment increase was observed in the formal sector (43 000), followed by the agriculture and private household sectors with 38 000 and 35 000 respectively in Q3: 2019.

Employment in the informal sector, on the other hand, declined by 53 000 in Q3: 2019 compared to Q2: 2019.

The number of discouraged work seekers increased by 44 000 while the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 35 000 between the second and the third quarters of 2019, resulting in a net increase of 9 000 in the not economically active population.

Compared to a year ago, total employment decreased by 5 000, the number of unemployed persons increased by 8.4% (524 000) and the number of persons who were not economically active increased by 0.5% (78 000).