Millions Remain Jobless Despite Drop in Unemployment Rate
30 September 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) is concerned that although the official unemployed rate has decreased by a substantial of 6.8 percentage points to 23,3% in the second quarter of 2020 from 30,1% the first quarter of the year, more than 14 million people remain jobless, according to figures released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) on Tuesday.
FEDUSA believes that the sharp drop in unemployment rate is more of a reflection of the severity of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour force than a sign of a recovering economy; especially as it is focused more on those who were not economically active at any rate.
StatsSA said the number of discouraged work-seekers, like the number of unemployed, decreased by 447 000, and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 5,6 million between the two quarters, resulting in a net increase of 5,2 million in the not economically active population.
The 23% decline in private household employment, in addition to a 21% drop in employment numbers for the Construction sector are matters of serious concern for the union federation.
FEDUSA would like to see the Minister of Tourism actively implementing the Sector’s Recovery Plan. According to the Department of Tourism own estimates, R54.2 billion in output may have been lost between mid-March and the end of May this year and the sector as a whole faces a potential 75% revenue reduction for the remainder of the year, putting a further 438 000 jobs at risk as direct result of COVID-19
FEDUSA is hopeful that the further reopening of the economy under Level 1- especially the resumption of international travel as from Thursday will have a much more positive impact on those sectors that were hardest hit like tourism, although safety protocols must still be complied with, to avoid a second wave of infections.
Overall, an active implementation and monitoring of the Presidential Economic Recovery Plan will also ensure that the economy does not lapse into the dangerous hard lockdown levels.
( 344 Words)
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