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Stats SA: To be viewed as unemployed, you must be actively looking for a job

Stats SA on Tuesday said the official unemployment figure shrunk to a record low from 30.1% in the first quarter of the year, the lowest unemployment rate recorded since 2008.

Picture: 123rf

JOHANNESBURG - While the unemployment rate has decreased to 23.3% in the second quarter of the year as contained in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, unemployment as per the expanded definition has actually increased.

Stats SA on Tuesday said the official figure shrunk to a record low from 30.1% in the first quarter of the year, the lowest unemployment rate recorded since 2008.

However, the expanded definition of the unemployment rate included discouraged job seekers who had stopped looking for work and it increased to over 40%.

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said the COVID-19 lockdown played a major role in the data collected.

“But also, the share of those who were unemployed moved from 7.1 million to 4.3 million.

"So, what happens here is that to be considered to be unemployed, you have to be actively looking for employment and should be able to take up such employment should it be available.

"And in this regard people were at home and not actively looking for employment,” Maluleke said.

The greatest contributor to the unemployment rate decrease was due to people who went directly from being employed to being economically not active.

That means the 2.2 million people who lost their jobs between April and June this year were yet to return to the labour market in search of new jobs.

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