The statistics agency said Tuesday that South Africa’s unemployment rate rose to a new record high of 32.6% in the first quarter of 2021 from 32.5% in the final quarter of 2020. The rate was the highest since the quarterly labour force survey began in 2008.
Statistics South Africa put the number of unemployed at 7.242 million people in the three months to the end of March, up from 7.233 million people in the previous three months.
Africa’s most industrialised economy has long suffered from extremely high levels of unemployment, trapping millions in poverty and contributing to stark inequalities that persist nearly three decades after the end of apartheid in 1994.
The Covid-19 plandemic has exacerbated South Africa’s labour market woes. Statistics South Africa said job losses in the first quarter were recorded mostly in construction, followed by trade, private households, transport and agriculture sectors. Here are some of the country’s economists sharing their sentiments.