Figure 1: Unemployment levels (rounded) and rates
  • The official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 26.7% in Q1.18, compared to Q4.17.
  • In Q1.18, although the number of employed individuals increased q/q, the number of job seekers also rose, yielding the unchanged unemployment figure.
  • Six of the ten industries were responsible for the quarterly employment gain of 206 000 in Q1.18. The community and other social services sector garnered the most jobs during the quarter, totaling 95 000 positions, followed by the manufacturing sector which employed an additional 58 000 individuals during the period.
  • The transport and mining industries on the other hand shed the most jobs, at 41 000 and 14 000 respectively.
  • Year-on-year changes indicate that increases in employment were primarily driven by the sales and services occupations, which gained 214 000 jobs• Better than expected economic growth achieved in Q4.17 would have aided formal sector employment, with the number of individuals employed in this area of the economy rising by 11 000 in Q1.18 after showing losses in Q4.17.
  • Youth unemployment (15-24 years) edged up from 51.1 % in Q4.17 to 52.4% in Q1.18, which is discouraging (see figure 3). However President Cyril Ramaphosa has stressed that job creation (with an emphasis on youth employment opportunities) lies at the centre of government’s national agenda for 2018.
  • A notable uptick in investment, which would ultimately lift potential GDP growth is required to enhance employment rates. Global growth, confidence levels and policy and political certainty have improved following President Ramaphosa’s election as President of the republic, which should drive private sector investment, improving employment prospects going forward.
Figure 2: Employment levels by industry
Figure 3: Employment trends