President Cyril Ramaphosa said structural reforms and other measures would play a critical role in supporting the recovery of the labour market.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has reacted to the latest unemployment figures, saying government is hard at work, averting the loss of even more jobs, but at the same time, has called on South Africans to come together and grow the country’s economy.
Stats SA released Quarterly Labour Force Survey results on Tuesday, 29 September 2020, which showed that the unemployment rate had declined to 23.3% in the second quarter from 30.1% previously.
However, South Africans were confused by the results, many questioning their accuracy, given the economic catastrophe unleased by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw industries forced to shed jobs.
According to Stats SA, the results were per the agency’s definition of unemployment – which refers to people who are actively looking for work and some, who have indicated they would be available to even start.
Under its expanded definition, the figure has ballooned to 42%.
Ramaphosa said the results were indicative of the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the South African labour market.
“Our success in responding to this unprecedented crisis will be measured by the speed of our labour market recovery. In addition to the relief measures we have already implemented, we must ensure that every job lost during the crisis is replaced and that more jobs are created so that we can meaningfully reduce unemployment,” he said in a statement.
RAMAPHOSA: EMPLOYMENT DECLINE ‘HIGHLIGHTS A DECREASING LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE’
Earlier in September, Ramaphosa met with the the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) to finalise the economic recovery plan, which was subsequently given the green light.
The plan will also include solutions towards the unemployment crisis and attracting investment as a way of improving the economy.
“Structural reforms, investment in infrastructure and other measures to grow the economy will play a crucial role in supporting the recovery of the labour market in the medium term”, Ramaphosa’s office further said.
The president also added that while the labour market recovers, government would continue to expand its programmes aimed at keeping people in work and sustaining livelihoods.
Ramaphosa also lauded the economic and social relief package as having played a pivotal role in guarding workers and households from the worst effects of the pandemic.
“Most countries have experienced both a sharp increase in unemployment and an increase in economic inactivity as a result of the measures necessary to contain the pandemic.
In South Africa’s case, this decline highlights a decreasing labour force participation rate and adds to an unacceptably high level of unemployment before the pandemic,” he said