South Africa’s unemployment rate increased by 1.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 32.5 percent, the highest since 2008, said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Tuesday in its Quarterly Labor Force Survey (QLFS).
Risenga Maluleke, statistician-general said the number of unemployed people increased by 701,000 to 7.2 million in Q4.
According to an expanded definition of unemployment that includes those discouraged from seeking work, 42.6 per cent of the labour force was without work in the fourth quarter, amounting to 11.1 million people.
The unemployment rate among the black African (36.5 per cent) population group remains higher than the national average and other population groups.
Black African women are the most vulnerable with an unemployment rate of 38.5 per cent.
Youth aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years recorded the highest unemployment rates of 63.2 percent and 41.2 per cent respectively.
Stats SA said formal sector employment increased by 189,000 jobs between Q3 and Q4, 2020.
Employment gains were observed across all industries with the exception of mining and finance.
“Of the 15 million persons who were employed in Q4, a total of 88.9 per cent of the employed continued to receive pay during lockdown in Q4,” said Stats SA, adding that 16.5 per cent of those who received pay during lockdown were paid reduced salaries.