Number of Bay jobless still rising

Unemployment up to 36.9% in last quarter

Nelson Mandela Bay continued to field significantly high unemployment numbers (36.9%), with the figure substantially higher than the national average, which decreased by a full percentage point during the fourth quarter of last year.

This is according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released by Statistics South Africa yesterday.

The report showed that unemployment nationally had dropped from 27.7% recorded during the second and third quarter of last year to 26.7%, measured in the last quarter.

“The results of the QLFS for the fourth quarter of 2017 indicate a decrease of 351 000 in the labour force, with employment and unemployment decreasing by 21 000 and 330 000 respectively,” the report said.

Stats SA said formal sector employment had declined by 135 000, while informal sector employment increased by 119 000 compared with quarter three last year.

It said employment declines had been recorded in the finance sector (91 000), trade sector (45 000), private households (43 000), and mining industries (35 000).

Employment was created in community, social and personal services, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and transport.

Compared with quarter four of 2016, employment increased by 102 000 or 0.6% while unemployment grew by 99 000 (1.7%).

Unemployment in the Eastern Cape, according to the Stats SA data, continued to be higher than the national average and ended the fourth quarter of last year at 35.1%, having decreased marginally from 35.5% recorded in the third quarter.

During the fourth quarter of 2016, unemployment was pegged at 28.4%, meaning that year on year, unemployment had increased by 6.7 percentage points.

Reflecting similar movements, unemployment in Nelson Mandela Bay increased during the period under review and ended the fourth quarter of last year at 36.9%.

During the last quarter of 2016, unemployment in the city was at 29.6% meaning that, year on year, it had rocketed by 7.3 percentage points.

Unemployment grew by 0.9% (from 36% in the third quarter of 2017) to 36.9% in the fourth quarter of the same year.

National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) Bay chairman Lithemba Singaphi said while the reduction in unemployment nationally was welcomed, the figures for the Eastern Cape and Nelson Mandela Bay were disappointing.

He said a protracted decline in employment in the Bay region over an extended period of time had been noted and that “unless a new strategy and plan is devised to tackle the problem, it will only worsen”.

First National Bank senior economic analyst Jason Muscat said while the figures showed that the number of unemployed people had fallen by 33 000 quarter on quarter, much of the drop came from a -1.6% quarter on quarter decline in the size of the labour force.

“The figures show the number of jobs actually declined by nearly 21 000 in the quarter.”

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