Job losses rip through agricultural sector
Agriculture has recorded job losses of 3‚000 in the first quarter of 2018‚ according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Stats SA on Tuesday.
Overall‚ the situation was largely unchanged.
Stats SA said the South African working-age population increased by 153‚000 or 0‚4 per cent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. The rise in both employment (up by 206‚000) and unemployment (up by 100‚000) over the quarter led to a rise in labour force participation rate (from 58‚8% to 59‚3%). The unemployment rate (26‚7%) remained unchanged over the first quarter of 2018 compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.
Employment gains were recorded in the formal sector (111‚000)‚ informal sector (93‚000) and private households (5‚000).
The quarterly employment increase of 206‚000 in the first quarter of 2018 was driven by six of ten industries. The contributors to the increase were the Community and social services sector (95‚000)‚ Manufacturing (58‚000)‚ Construction (40‚000) Trade (36‚000) and Finance and other business services (30‚000).
Employment declines were recorded in Transport (41‚000)‚ Mining (14‚000)‚ Utilities (6‚000) and Agriculture (3‚000).
While the official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 26‚7% in the first four months of 2018 compared to the last quarter of 2017‚ it increased in seven of the nine provinces and it decreased in two of the provinces‚ said Stats SA.
The largest increase in the unemployment rate was recorded in Mpumalanga (up by 3‚5 percentage points)‚ Northern Cape (up by 2‚4 percentage points)‚ and North West (up by 1‚9 percentage points). KwaZulu-Natal (down by 1‚8 percentage points) and Gauteng (down by 0‚5 of a percentage point) recorded a decline in official unemployment rate.
The expanded unemployment rate increased by 0‚4 of a percentage point in Q1: 2018 to 36‚7% quarter-to-quarter‚ said Stats SA.
Of the 10‚3 million persons aged (15-24 years) 32‚4% (approximately 3‚3 million) were not in employment‚ education or training in the first quarter of 2018 - "implying that close to one in three young South Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 years were disengaged from the labour market‚" said Stats SA. This was unchanged‚ compared to the first quarter of 2017.