Employment A jobless army
Unemployment stayed unchanged at 27.7% for the third quarter of the year, up from 27.1% in the same quarter in 2016. While 92,000 people found work in that period, we added over 150,000 to the working age population in that time, so swings and roundabouts. And speaking of which, while the financial and other business sectors picked up 68,000 jobs, manufacturing lost 50,000, construction about 30,000, and agriculture about 25,000. Of particular concern is that youth unemployment – for people between the ages of 15 and 34 – is running at 38.6%. In other unwelcome economic news, the World Bank in its labyrinthine Washington DC headquarters has pronounced that South Africa has fallen to 82nd place on its ‘Doing Business’ survey, from 74th last year. One of the reasons for this is that the bureaucratic constraints on business here have remained intact even as they have loosened in other developing countries. And last week we learned that we had lost 14 slots on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness index, with corruption and government instability cited as our most pressing problems.
Comment: We are better than this, although the numbers don’t suggest as much right now.