Government unlikely to reach 2030 target of reducing unemployment to 6% 

Government is unlikely to meet its 2030 target of reducing unemployment to 6%. 

Unemployment has soared to its highest level since 2008, standing at 26.7% in the first quarter of 2016, up 2.2% since the last quarter of 2015. 

This means that 5.7 million of the country’s working population are unemployed. 

Since the last quarter of 2015, 355 000 jobs had been lost, putting the country’s employed population between the aged of 15 to 64 years at 15.7 million. 

The youth continue to be the most vulnerable as far as unemployment is concerned, with an unemployment rate of 37.7%. 

The percentage of women without work (29.3%) is higher than men (24.6%). 

The Western Cape had the highest absorption rate – the proportion of the population who are working – at 54.3%. The lowest absorption rate of 33.1% is in the Eastern Cape. 

The National Development Plan (NDP) target is for 24 million people to be employed by 2030 but policy makers have to rethink their employment strategies to meet this goal. 

“Government has not done enough. Enough is when you will see a change in the unemployment trend. At the moment there is no indication of a turning point and the economic climate is not helping.” 

The high unemployment rate among the youth was largely because of low education levels, with 47.5% not having completed secondary education. 

Only 13.8% had completed tertiary education. 

In the first quarter of 2016, 33% of the youth were neither employed, receiving an education nor undergoing training. 

Three out of every five of these youths had an education level below matric. 

Race also continued to be a factor in the country’s unemployment demographic, with the black African population having the highest unemployment rate of 30.1% compared to coloureds (23.6%), India (12.5%) and Whites (7.2%). 

The major job losses since the fourth quarter of 2015 were experienced in trade (119 000), manufacturing (100 000) and construction (77 000). 


Lindsay Dentlinger – Cape Argus