South Africa’s unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2020 now stands on 30.1%, up from 27.6% a year ago, according to Stats SA’s announcement today, while the expanded unemployment number is a whopping 39.7%.
These numbers exclude the majority of the impact of the lockdown, which means the worst is still to come, with several companies already having warned that they have no choice but to turn to retrenchments to prevent their operations from closing.
This is the highest official unemployment rate since Stats SA introduced its new methodology in Q1 2008. The expanded unemployment rate is regarded as a true reflection of the unemployed as it includes the discouraged workers who stopped searching for a job.
UASA is deeply concerned with the increase in the number of unemployed people, especially considering that these figures represent the state of affairs before the effects of the coronavirus pandemic could be felt. Over the past three years since Q1 2017 the number of unemployed increased by 1.506 million.
We call on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to put special emphasis on how we can get the economy growing again when he delivers the special emergency budget speech tomorrow. UASA also calls on the government, organised labour and the private sector to come together to find solutions to put an end to this job bloodbath.