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SA’s unemployment rate at 13 year high, govt faces tough decisions

According to Stats SA, unemployment grew to 27.1%, equivalent to 5.9 million unemployed people.

Picture: pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG/PRETORIA - With South Africa’s unemployment at a 13-year high, economists say government needs to make some tough decisions to restructure the economy to uncap its potential.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released the third quarter labour force survey, which shows unemployment grew to 27.1%, equivalent to 5.9 million unemployed people.

Economist Thabi Leoka says government must look at the market demands and produce skilled people to fill the gaps.

“We need to look at the education level, the kind of education we have and whether it speaks to the sectors we have in South Africa.”

Investment Solutions’ Lesiba Mothata says some sectors have performed well in the last quarter.

“The financial sector continues to be the pillar of this economy, with the contribution to the GDP and the creation of jobs.”

The figures show mining lost 9,000 jobs, a loss for a third consecutive quarter.

'SITUATION COULD GET WORSE'

Meanwhile, labour analysts have painted a bleak picture, saying the situation could get worse, especially if the national minimum wage is introduced.

Independent analyst Gavin Brown says the implementation of a national minimum wage may have long term consequences.

“With inflation there’ll be a massive demand for that minimum wage to increase year-on-year. There'll come a point when it will deter employers from hiring.”

Labour lawyer Michael Bagraim adds: “We're going to see massive retrenchments over this next year. I think we’re going to be really sad to have started debating things such as a minimum wage.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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