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Unemployment rate rises

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The official unemployment rate in the Northern Cape has jumped to 26%

File photo: NIC BOTHMA/EPA.

THE OFFICIAL unemployment rate in the Northern Cape has jumped to 26%, while the expanded unemployment rate is currently at 41.5%.

This is according to the quarterly labour force statistics for the first quarter of 2019 released by Stats SA yesterday.

Nationally, the official unemployment rate increased by 0.5 of a percentage point in Q1: 2019 (January to March 2019) compared to Q4: 2018 (October to December 2018).

The official unemployment rate increased in six of the nine provinces, with the largest increase in Mpumalanga (up by 2.2%), Limpopo and Free State (up by 2%) and Eastern Cape (1.3%).

In the Northern Cape, it rose from 25% to 26% over the last quarter.

KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Gauteng were the only provinces that recorded decreases in the unemployment rate.

Year-on-year, the official unemployment rate increased by 0.9%. The official unemployment rate increased in six of the nine provinces; the largest increase was observed in KwaZulu-Natal (up by 2.8%), followed by Free State (up by 2.1%), Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape (up by 1.8%).

Nationally, the expanded unemployment rate increased by 1% from 37% to 38% in Q1: 2019. The largest increase was recorded in Limpopo (up by 4.3%), followed by the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga (up by 2.9% and 1.9 % respectively). The expanded unemployment rate for Gauteng remained unchanged, while the Western Cape was the only province that experienced a decrease in the expanded unemployment rate (down by 0.4%).

Compared to the same period last year, the expanded unemployment rate increased by 1.3% in Q1: 2019. All provinces recorded an increase in the expanded unemployment rate except for Gauteng where it remained unchanged. The largest increase was recorded in Limpopo (up by 5.5%), followed by North West and Eastern Cape (up by 2.6% and 2.3% respectively).

The Northern Cape, which has a labour force of 434 000, has
321 000 employed people, 113 000 unemployed, 366 000 people who are not economically active and 84 000 discouraged work seekers.

The number of discouraged work seekers is up by 52.4% in comparison to the same time last year, when there were 55 000 discouraged work seekers.

In terms of expanded unemployment, there are 228 000 unemployed people in the Province, which is an increase of 12.5% above the
203 000 unemployed people in the last quarter of last year.

One of the biggest job losses in the Province was in the agricultural sector. Here a large drop of 16.3% was recorded year-on-year, with
8 000 less jobs in this sector.

There was a slight increase, however, in comparison to the last quarter of 2018, with the number of employed people in the agricultural sector rising from 39 000 in Q4 2018 to 41 000 in Q1 2019. This is an increase of 3.8%.

The utilities sector in the Province also took a hard knock, with the number of people employed in this sector year-on-year dropping by 56.5% from 9 000 in Q1 2018 to
4 000 in Q1 2019.

The decline of the construction sector also took its toll, with 8 000 people losing their jobs in this sector over the last year. In Q1 2018 there were a total of 26 000 people employed in construction, which dropped to 18 000 in Q1 2019. Over the last quarter alone, the number dropped by 6 000, from 24 000 in Q4 2018.

Trade also saw a decrease of 4.8% quarter-to-quarter (from
48 000 in Q4 2018 to 46 000 in Q1 2019), while so did finance, which dropped by 21.5% year-on-year from a total of 26 000 people employed in this sector in Q1 2018 to 20 000 in Q1 2019.

More people were employed in the mining sector, with this increasing from 24 000 in Q1 2018 to 28 000 in Q1 2019 – an increase of 16.4%. Quarter-on-quarter, the number increased from 27 000 in Q3 2019.

Job gains were also recorded in the manufacturing sector – up from 15 000 in Q1 2018 to 17 000 in Q1 2019, as well as the transport sector which increased from 10 000 to 14 000 year-on-year, and the community and social services sector, which increased by 14.2% year-on-year from 95 000 to 109 000.

The number of people employed in private households in the Province increased year-on-year from 20 000 in Q1 2018 to 25 000 in Q1 2019. However, quarter-to-quarter it dropped from 29 000 in Q3 2019.

A total of 218 000 people in the Province are employed in the formal sector (non-agricultural), while in the first quarter of last year this figure was 225 000, indicating a decline of 3.2% year-on-year. Thirty-eight thousand are employed in the informal sector (non-agricultural), an increase of 39.7% year-on-year from 28 000 in Q1 2018.

A total of 336 000 people in the Province are not in employment, education or training.