Statistics South Africa has published the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q3 2023, showing a small increase in the country’s unemployment rate.
The official unemployment rate increased by 0.2 of a percentage point from 32.7% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 32.9% in the first quarter of 2023.
The unemployment rate, according to the expanded definition, decreased by 0,2 of a percentage point to 42,4% in Q1 2023 compared to Q4 2022.
The results of the survey indicate that 179,000 jobs were lost between the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. The total number of persons unemployed was 7.9 million in Q1 2023.
The number of employed persons increased by 258,000 to 16.2 million in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.
The number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 209,000 to 13.2 million. The discouraged work-seekers decreased by 87,000 in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, resulting in a net decrease of 296,000 in the not economically active population.
According to Stats SA, the working-age population increased by 0.9 of a percentage point from 58.5% in Q4 2022 to 59.4% in Q1 2023
The number of unemployed people in South Africa also increased from 4.9 million in Q1 2013 to 7.9 million in Q1 2023. The proportion of those in long-term unemployment increased from 65.5% in Q1 2013 to 77.2% in Q1 2023.
In terms of industries, the Finance (+184,000), Community and Social Services (+175,000), Agriculture (+27,000), Utilities (+11,000), and Transport (+10,000) sectors recorded the largest job gains.
Meanwhile, job losses were recorded in Private households (-85,000), Trade (-28,000), Mining (-24,000), Construction (-11,000), and Manufacturing (-2,000).
The formal sector recorded an increase in employment of 209,000, and the Informal sector recorded an increase in employment of 107,000 between the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, Stats SA said.
Provincially, the number of employed persons increased in six provinces between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023.
Large employment increases were recorded in Gauteng (+80,000), Limpopp (+71,000), Western Cape (+62,000), Kwa-Zulu Natal (+54,000), Eastern Cape (+41,000), and Northern Cape (+4,000).
Employment losses were recorded in Mpumalanga (-45,000), Free State (-4,000), and the North West (-4,000) during the same period.