Youth graduate unemployment rate increases in Q1: 2019

The youth aged 15–24 years are the most vulnerable in the South African labour market as the unemployment rate among this age group was 55,2% in the 1st quarter of 2019. Among graduates in this age group, the unemployment rate was 31,0% during this period compared to 19,5% in the 4th quarter of 2018 – an increase of 11,4 percentage points quarter-on-quarter. However, the graduate unemployment rate is still lower than the rate among those with other educational levels, meaning that education is still the key to these young people’s prospects improving in the South African labour market.



According to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) results released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), a decline in employment (down by 237 000) and an increase in unemployment (up by 62 000) in the 1st quarter of 2019, compared to the 4th quarter of 2018, led to a decline in the labour force participation rate, which is now standing at 59,3%. Unemployment in the first quarter of 2019 increased by 0,5 of a percentage point, bringing the rate to 27,6%.

The burden of unemployment is concentrated amongst the youth (aged 15–34 years) as they account for 63,4% of the total number of unemployed persons. Almost 4 in every 10 young people in the labour force did not have a job, with the unemployment rate within this group at 39,6% in the 1st quarter of 2019. Just under 30% of the youth have jobs and about half of them (48,8%) participate in the labour market. The unemployment rate among adults (aged 35–64 years) was 18,0% during this period, while the employment-to-population ratio and labour force participation rate were 57,4% and 70,0%, respectively, for this group.

The historical data shows that compared to the 4th quarter of every year, unemployment among youth increases in the 1st quarter of every year. This is mainly due to new entrants into the labour market. The majority (85,7%) of the young unemployed graduates aged 15–24 years were new entrants into the labour market in the 1st quarter of 2019, while the rest have either lost their previous jobs, left their previous jobs or were re-entrants into the labour market.

The unemployed are often targeted by unscrupulous persons who claim to be able to secure employment for them for some form of payment. It has come to our attention that false information is making the rounds on social media platforms about employment opportunities at Statistics South Africa.

Stats SA wishes to caution the public about imposters claiming to represent the organisation and falsely promising jobs, and asking for prepayment to secure jobs for applicants.

Stats SA wishes to officially state that no vacancies are currently advertised and no agency or middleman represents the organisation for the purposes of recruitment.

Employment opportunities at Statistics South Africa are advertised on Stats SA’s official website, in Sunday newspapers and in the circular of the Department of Public Service and Administration. Information on vacancies is also posted on our official social media platforms.

The public is cautioned that government departments will never ask for payment for recruitment processes.

Where cases of this nature come to light, the victims should lodge a complaint with the relevant authorities.

The public is requested to check Stats SA’s official platforms to keep informed of job opportunities at the organisation.


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