UASA Media Release: 31 May 2022
Statement by Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union UASA:
The unemployment rate decreased from a record high of 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 34.5% in the first quarter of 2022, as reported by Stats SA in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) earlier today, which is good news.
An unemployment rate of 34.5% in any economic environment is unacceptable, but the slight downward movement shows some progress in economic activities.
The report revealed that the most significant job gains were recorded in community and social services (281 000), manufacturing (263 000) and trade (98 000). At the same time, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 60 000 to 7.9 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the previous quarter.
Although the number of discouraged workers decreased by 54 000 (1.4%), the country’s high unemployment rate remains a crisis. The data revealed that unemployment was highest among those aged 15 to 24 years (63.9%) and 25 to 34 years (42.1%).
Young people are the future of our country and should be our economic drivers. Therefore, it is disheartening that the number of people not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased by 4.6 percentage points to 3.8 million.
UASA repeatedly has, to no avail, called on government to take steps to fix the unemployment disaster. A high unemployment rate coupled with a fuel price crisis, increases in CPI and the prime lending rate, leading to overall cost increases may soon spell disaster. Shrinking disposable incomes for members and families who are forced to also provide for their unemployed family members cannot but lead to an explosive situation of discontent.
If we fail to see urgent action from government, workers and their families will sink into poverty even further, and the gains of the past three decades will be wiped out.
UASA urges all South Africans to save themselves. Create extra income by creating micro side hustles; if you have scarce skills, make them work for you. We encourage job seekers to keep their heads up and continue to seek employment and pursue government and private funding opportunities for small business ventures. Let’s not sit and wait for government alone to solve our woes. We must all play a part.
For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.