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Unemployment rate predicted to keep on growing

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Stats SA said the number of unemployed persons has increased by 330,000, to 8.2 million – up from 7.9m in the previous quarter – marking the highest figure since comparable records began in 2008.

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UNEMPLOYMENT has increased to 32.9 percent, according to the latest figures released by Statistic South Africa (StatsSA).

The official unemployment rate rose to its highest in a year by 0.8 of a percentage point in the first quarter of 2024, up from 32.1% recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.

According to Stats SA, the actual number of unemployed persons has increased by 330,000, to 8.2 million – up from 7.9m in the previous quarter – marking the highest figure since comparable records began in 2008.

Truth About Money facilitator and coach Hayley Parry said that the latest unemployment data for the first quarter of 2024 was not looking pretty.

“If you look at that, within the context of low growth, high interest rates, and just a generally high cost of living, what you’re going to find is this is going to put further pressure on South African households, on their personal finances, on their marriages, on their relationships and on their bank balances.

“This is not good for individuals and it’s not good for South Africa as a whole – it impacts growth, it impacts morale and it’s going to mean that South Africans are going to need to take a radically different look at their finances if they’ve been impacted by this and how they approach managing the money that they do have going forward,” Parry said.

She further said it is one of the reasons she recommends people look at getting themselves a financial education.

“There are skills that need to be learned in terms of managing the money you have, particularly when you’re going through a financial crisis; and, that’s what we’re passionate about helping people do through initiatives like Truth About Money, where there are online courses that people can do free of charge to help them get on top of these basics that I’m talking about,” Parry said.

Frank Blackmore, lead economist at KPMG South Africa, said he expects the unemployment rate to continue growing in the country.

“We see that the labour force increased by around 352,000 persons, and of those, employment increased by total of 22,000 persons. Most of those are coming from the formal sector, which gained over 56,000 employees, while the informal sector lost 100,000 jobs. Agriculture and private households also showed an increase in employment of 44,000 persons respectively. Unemployment increased by 330,000 persons, from 7.8 million people in the fourth quarter of the previous year to 8.2m people in the first quarter of 2024.

“Many of these persons have come from the ‘not economically active’ category … since that category reduced from the fourth quarter by 214,000 persons. These statistics are unsurprising with the uptick in unemployment due to the performance of the economy overall and the challenges faced by logistics and infrastructure deterioration over this period of time,“ he further added.

Blackmore said: “As long as the economy grows below 1%, with the population growth rate of around 1.5%, we expect an increase in the unemployment rate to continue.”

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