The jobless rate in Africa’s most-industrialized economy rises to almost 15 years high

The rate of unemployed in South Africa has risen to 27.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 27.1 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018. The highest recorded in almost 15 years.

According to South Africa’s statistics agency, 6.2 million people were without jobs in the three months to the end of March, compared with 6.1 million people in the preceding quarter. The increases in unemployment were found in most sectors of the economy in the first three months of 2019 except manufacturing, trade and transport cut employment. The largest increase occurred in the construction industry with 142,000 job cut followed by financial service with 94000 cuts.  

A sluggish economic growth being recorded by South Africa whose GDP hasn’t risen since 2013 is largely the reason for the increase. Unemployment rate usually increases in the first quarter as temporary positions filled over the festive season are cut, Kamilla Kaplan, an economist at Investec Bank Ltd., told Bloomberg before the data’s release.

The country needs its GDP to increase by 3 percent to 5 percent in order to see its number of jobless people fall.

In the weeks leading to the elections, Unemployment was a major worry for South African voters but yet a majority of them still voted for President Ramaphosa. This shows that he has a lot of work to do with regards to saving the economy. Ramaphosa is faced with putting tough economic reforms in place as well as appointing a smaller cabinet that is free of corruption allegations.