South Africa’s economy hits 4% growth, but private sector is still not hiring

By Xolisa Phillip, in Johannesburg

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Posted on June 14, 2021 11:53

unemployment south africa
Radzuma Tshimangadzo stands holding a placard with his qualifications as he seeks a job at an intersection in Rosebank, South Africa, June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

On 1 June, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) results for the first quarter of 2021, which was followed by the GDP report on Tuesday 8 June. The latest figures show unemployment has reached highs last recorded during the 2008 global financial crisis.

South African CEOs and businesses are adopting a wait-and-see approach to hiring in the current environment.

The country’s GDP data from the first quarter of 2021 indicates that activity in the construction sector is still moving at a slow pace, which correlates with the sluggish progress in the government’s infrastructure programme. The current administration has listed infrastructure spending as an important pillar of its economic recovery plan.

In terms of the QLFS, South Africa’s jobless rate has risen by 0.1 percentage points to 32.6%. Moreover, the expanded definition, which includes discouraged jobseekers, is at 43.2% – a level last recorded in 2008.

South Africa registered an annualised and seasonally adjusted growth rate of 4.1%, mostly boosted by an increase in mining activity. However, the underlying figures tell a story of an economy suffering the after-effects of prolonged

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