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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Business Day Live by Ntsakisi Maswanganyi.]

Youth unemployment deteriorated between 2008 and the first quarter of this year, and more young people have given up looking for work, Statistics SA’s youth labour market report showed on Monday.

Of the approximately 19.7-million working-age youth (15 to 34 years), 9.8-million were not economically active, 6.2-million were employed, and 3.6-million were unemployed. The “not economically active” include discouraged work-seekers, full-time students, and homemakers.

“Over the period 2008–15, key labour market rates deteriorated by a larger margin among youth compared with adults, and the frustration of not finding employment has led many young people to become discouraged and exit the labour force altogether,” Stats SA said.

The latest data indicate there is still a long way ahead for policy makers to implement economic-growth-inducing policies, as well as boosting confidence among the private sector, which has the potential to grow businesses and create jobs.

The scarcity of job opportunities for youth was also reflected in lower absorption rates among this group than among adults (35 to 64 years) and the larger decline in the absorption rate among youth than among adults as a result of the recession, Stats SA said.

“Whereas in 2015 as many as 3.6-million young people were unemployed and actively looking for work, a substantially lower number of adults, 1.9-million, were in that situation,” Stats SA said.

Youth unemployment partly reflects population growth, and a lack of job opportunities given pedestrian economic growth.

The 1-million jobs created between 2008 and the first quarter of this year were solely on account of job gains among adults while youth job losses of 221,000 were recorded, the report showed.

Youth unemployment has increased since 2008 partly due to the global recession, rising from 32.7% in 2008 to 36.1% in 2011, and remained between 35% and 37% in subsequent years, according to Stats SA.

South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.5% y/y in June 2019 (CPI) & +5.8 y/y in June 2019 (PPI)
-3.2% q/q (1st quarter of 2019)
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