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Q1 employment stats see 8.5 million SA youth without jobs

The unemployment rate increased by 1 percentage point from 29.1% by December 2019.

FILE: Many farmworkers in Vredendal, Western Cape are worried about their jobs as the current drought is claiming many farms. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Almost 40,000 South Africans lost their jobs in the first three months of 2020, bringing the country's unemployment rate to 30.1%.

This is according to the results of Statistics South Africa's (StatsSA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey released on Tuesday.

The unemployment rate increased by 1 percentage point from 29.1% by December 2019.

The expanded unemployment rate, which includes people who do not have jobs and have given up on looking for one, is edging on the 40% mark at 39.7%.

The declining trend is not unusual, according to Stats SA, as the unemployment rate tends to increase between the last quarter of a previous year and the first quarter of a new year.

It's also important to note that these stats were recorded for the first three months of the year - before South Africa went under lockdown due to the coronavirus.

Predictions are that the lockdown will have a huge impact on job losses for the rest of the year, so we'll only to see a clear picture of how much damage this has done so far once Stats SA releases results for the second quarter of the year from April to June.

WOMEN, BLACK AFRICANS AND YOUTH WORST AFFECTED

Black Africans, women (particularly black women) and young people between the ages of 15 and 34 continue to be the worst affected groups with regards to unemployment.

Youth unemployment now stands at 41.7%. Divided between genders, 32.4% of women are unemployed, while 33.8% of black Africans are unemployed.

The Eastern Cape recorded the highest official and expanded unemployment rates at 40.5% and 48.9% respectively, while the Western Cape recorded the lowest rates at 20.9% and 24.8% respectively.

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