StatsSA reported that unemployment dropped slightly in the second quarter of 2023, down to 32.6% from the previous quarter’s 32.9%. This marginal improvement still left 7.9 million South Africans officially out of work, with a further 13.3 million not economically active.
According to the expanded definition, unemployment including discouraged work seekers is now 42.1%.
The agricultural sector helped to lower the depressing total by adding jobs in the second quarter. Employment rose 2% year-on year to a seven-year high of 894 000 jobs.
Agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo described the agricultural picture as “encouraging”. He attributed the jobs increase to “robust production conditions” in field crops, forestry and aquaculture.
“This is the highest farm employment level since the last quarter of 2016 and is well above the long-term agricultural employment of 780 000,” Sihlobo said.