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Unemployment drops in NC

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“For the youth of the Province, it is more important than ever before to roll up our sleeves and start with the work of job creation.”

UNEMPLOYMENT in the Northern Cape dropped by 2.9% in the last quarter of 2019.

This is according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the fourth quarter of last year, released by Stats SA yesterday.

The Northern Cape, where unemployment dropped to 26.9% in the last quarter of 2019, from 29.8% in the previous quarter, showed the largest decrease in the unemployment rate in the country.

According to Stats SA, the official unemployment rate in the country remained unchanged at 29.1% between Q3: 2019 and Q4: 2019.

The official unemployment rate decreased in six of the nine provinces, with the largest decrease recorded in the Northern Cape (down by 2.9%), followed by Mpumalanga (down by 1.7%) and North West (down by 1.6%).

The Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Free State all recorded increases in the unemployment rate (3%, 1.7% and 0.5%, respectively).

Year-on-year the official unemployment rate increased by 2%. The rate increased in all provinces except KwaZulu-Natal, where it decreased by 0.6%. The largest increase was observed in Limpopo (up by 6.6%), followed by Eastern Cape (up by 3.4%) and North West (up by 2.2%).

The expanded unemployment rate increased by 0.2% in Q4: 2019 compared to Q3: 2019.

The largest increase was recorded in Limpopo (up by 2.1%), followed by Eastern Cape (up by 1.2%), KwaZulu-Natal (up by 0.5%) and Gauteng (up by 0.2%).

The largest decreases in the expanded unemployment rate were observed in the Northern Cape (down by 3.8%), North West (down by 2.1%) and Western Cape (down by 0.4%).

Compared to the same period last year, the expanded unemployment rate increased by 1.7% in Q4: 2019.

All provinces recorded increases. The largest increase was recorded in Limpopo (up by 5.2%), followed by Free State (up by 3%) and Mpumalanga (up by 2.7%).

Meanwhile, the number of employed persons in the Northern Cape also increased by 13 000 from 322 000 in Q3: 2019 to 335 000 in Q4.

This was an increase of 4.2%.

Nationally, the number of employed persons increased in five of the nine provinces with the largest employment increases recorded in Gauteng (up by 38 000), North West (up by 32 000) and Western Cape (up by 24 000), while Limpopo and Eastern Cape recorded the largest employment losses of 35 000 and

18 000, respectively.

Compared to Q4: 2018, the largest increase in employment was recorded in North West (up by

19 000), KwaZulu-Natal (up by

16 000) and Northern Cape (up by 13 000). The largest decreases in the number of employed persons were recorded in Limpopo (down by

77 000), Gauteng (down by 65 000) and Free State (down by 21 000).

In the various sectors in the Northern Cape, agriculture saw an increase in employment from 33 000 people in Q3: 2019 to 36 000 in Q4: 2019, an increase of 9.8%.

Year-on-year, however, the number of people employed in this sector dropped from 39 000 in Q4: 2018. In Q1 of 2019, the agricultural sector employed 41 000 people.

The mining sector also saw an increase in the last quarter of 2019 from 29 000 in Q3: 2019 to 33 000 (an increase of 12.5%). Year-on-year, there was an increase of 23.8% from Q4: 2018 to Q4: 2019.

The manufacturing sector also increased from 15 000 people employed to 17 000 (an 11% increase), however utilities decreased from

2 000 in Q3: 2019 to 1 000 in Q4: 2019.

The construction sector remained constant with 20 000 people employed in this sector. Year-on-year, however, there was a decrease from 24 000 in Q4: 2018.

Trade dropped by 21.4% from

57 000 people employed in Q3: 2019 to 47 000 in Q4: 2019, while the transport sector increased from 9 000 in the third quarter of 2019 to 11 000 in the fourth quarter, an increase of 16.7%.

The finance sector showed a significant increase from 21 000 in Q3: 2019 to 29 000 in Q4: 2019 (an increase of more than 40%).

The commercial and social sector dropped from 116 000 in Q3: 2019 to 107 000 in Q4: 2019, while the number of people employed in private households also dropped, from 30 000 to 26 000 (a decline of 14.8%).

The number of people in the Northern Cape employed in the formal sector grew by 8% from 224 000 to 232 000 in the last quarter of last year, while the informal sector also grew from 35 000 to 41 000 (18.8%).

The DA in the Northern Cape said yesterday that while the overall reduction of 3.8% in the provincial expanded unemployment rate was a step in the right direction, it remained a very small step.

DA provincial leader Andrew Louw pointed out that there was still a long way to go to reach acceptable levels of economic participation and labour absorption, especially among the youth.

“Once again, the Northern Cape has the highest rate of people aged 15 years to 24 years who are not receiving formal education, who are not employed and who are not otherwise economically active. Unlike the trend for the province overall, youth unemployment increased by 1.6% and now stands at a staggering 37%.”

Louw stated that it was unacceptable that more than a third of the Province’s youth are left without economic or educational opportunities. “Clearly, more work needs to be done by the provincial government to create an environment which is conducive for the sustained creation of sustainable jobs.”

He added that this had to begin with ending the political misuse of programmes such as the EPWP or the CWP.

“These programmes are intended to be short-term poverty alleviation programmes which keep beneficiaries economically active through the transfer of skills. The reality, however, is that the programmes serve a system of political patronage. People appointed to the programmes are not rotated on the prescribed basis and continue to stay in place for months or even years after they were meant to be financially self-sufficient. And there is precious little skills transfer taking place, as beneficiaries are often forced to undertake political campaigns or activities.

“For the youth of the Province, it is more important than ever before to roll up our sleeves and start with the work of job creation.”