South Africa’s unemployment rate decreased by 0,4 of a percentage point to 27,1% in the 4th quarter of 2018 compared to the 3rd quarter of 2018 according to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa. The working-age population increased by 149 000 or 0,4% in the 4th quarter of 2018 compared to the third quarter of the same year.
The number of employed persons increased by 149 000 to 16,5 million in the 4th quarter of 2018, while the number of unemployed persons declined by 70 000 to 6,1 million compared to the 3rd quarter of 2018, resulting in an increase of 79 000 (up by 0,3%) in the number of people in the labour force.
The biggest increase in employment was observed in the formal sector which saw 92 000 more people employed in the 4th quarter of 2018 compared to the 3rd quarter. Employment in Private households and Agriculture also increased by 65 000 and 7 000 respectively, while informal sector employment declined by 15 000 jobs in the same period.
There was a net increase of 70 000 in the not economically active population, resulting from an increase of 108 000 in the number of discouraged work-seekers and a decline of 38 000 in the number of people who were not economically active due to reasons other than discouragement. The Eastern Cape recorded the highest rate of young people aged 15–24 years who were not in employment, education or training in the 4th quarter of 2018.
Employment increased in every fourth quarter of each year except in the 4th quarter of 2017, where the number of the employed persons declined by 21 000. The largest 4th quarter increase in the number of employed persons was observed in the 4th quarter of 2016 (up by 235 000).
The provincial statistics show that the number of employed persons increased in five of the nine provinces between the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2018. The largest employment increase was recorded in Gauteng (up by 86 000), followed by Free State (up by 33 000) and Western Cape (up by 26 000). However, in the same period, declines in the number of employed persons were recorded in Eastern Cape (down by 15 000) and North West (down by 6 000).
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) is a household-based sample survey conducted by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). This report presents the key findings of the QLFS conducted from October to December 2018 (Q4: 2018). For the full report, click here.