South Africa now has more unemployed people than people getting a paycheque

There are now more unemployed people in South Africa than people who get a paycheque every month.

This is one of the findings from economist Mike Schussler, who was commenting on South Africa’s latest unemployment numbers.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the third quarter of 2020 revealed that unemployment in South Africa has soared to 30.8% – a 7.5% increase from the second quarter.

The number of employed people in the formal sector, who typically receive a monthly paycheque, decreased from 11.2 million to 10.3 million over the last year.

Using the expanded definition of unemployment, there are now 11.1 million working-age people who are unemployed.

This means there are now more unemployed people in South African than people employed in the formal sector.

What is of even bigger concern is that the private sector employs only around 8 million people who must create most of the country’s economic value.

Schussler said this precarious situation means self-employment will have to become more part of our thinking.

“The few currently provide for the many. We must start to equip the many to believe they can create their own income and opportunity as the private formal sector is just too small,” he said.

The table below provides an overview of the latest employment numbers based on the expanded definition of unemployment.

Unemployment numbers

Now read: South African unemployment rate rises to 30.8%

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South Africa now has more unemployed people than people getting a paycheque