Trade union Solidarity on Tuesday expressed concern about South Africa’s persistent weak unemployment statistics.
This comes after Monday’s release, by Statistics South Africa, of its Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which showed that the expanded definition of unemployment had widened from 36.4% in the first quarter to 36.6% in the second quarter.
The expanded unemployment rate includes those who have given up on finding a job.
Solidarity Research Institute economics researcher Gerhard van Onselen pointed out that this had been the sixth consecutive quarter since the fourth quarter of 2015 in which the number of unemployed people measured on the expanded definition has increased faster on a year-on-year basis than the number of those who are employed.
He noted that while there had been a relative improvement in employment during the past two quarters on a year-on-year basis, it is not enough to significantly reduce unemployment in South Africa.
“Even the relatively favourable business cycle indicators, such as a stronger rand and better resource prices seen over the past two quarters, did not make a significant difference,” he added.
Van Onselen further said that political uncertainty and reckless policy actions did not help improve unfavourable labour conditions.
“What is urgently needed at this stage is a more market-friendly policy and political environment. Without more market-friendly economic policies and a reduction of government interventionism, the South African economy will remain unnecessarily entangled in red tape,” he stated.