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Labour market figures: South Africa stagnates around a new all-time low

Solidarity has expressed its concern about the latest unemployment figures released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). This follows the general unemployment rate that increased from 43,2% to 44,4% according to the extended definition.

According to Solidarity, these figures indicate de-industrialisation, as manufacturing has shown a large decrease in employees year after year.

“This is bad news, because it shows that South Africa is becoming more of a withdrawal economy and adding less and less new value. In short, South Africa is looting its territory and squandering its citizens’ future. No country has ever been able to become a modern, prosperous society by focusing only on agriculture and mining,” explains Theuns du Buisson, Economic Researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI).

“The current decline reminds us of the aftermath of the great financial crisis of 2008/9, where South Africa also never fully recovered to its pre-crisis state. It seems that we are once again starting to stagnate around a new low point with more people than ever before being shut out of the productive economy.”

After Solidarity expressed its shock last quarter over the record-high youth unemployment rate, according to the union, there is still nothing to be happy about.

“Although the unemployment rate fell from 75% in the first quarter to 64% in the second quarter, it is largely due to new entrants to the labour market. According to the official figures, there were 172 000 more unemployed youths in the second quarter than in the first quarter,” says Du Buisson.


“The same goes down on a larger scale in the group between 25 and 35, where an extra 193 000 people joined the unemployed group in the second quarter. It testifies anew to a state starving its citizens by clinging to strenuous policies.”

Solidarity therefore reiterates its call on the government to trust its citizens to look after their own interests, by immediately scrapping the minimum wage and reviewing other policies that make it difficult to find work.

“The country’s young people are being robbed of their future by unfavourable government policies that keep them out of the workplace. We need a dynamic work environment that gives people opportunities to succeed, or to fail. At the moment, the government is preventing any form of progress due to the fear that some may not achieve complete success,” Du Buisson concludes.