The official unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2021 was 35,3%, according to Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS).

The number of employed persons increased by 262 000 to 14,5-million, while the number of unemployed persons also increased by 278 000 to 7,9-million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the third quarter of 2021.

The number of not economically active population decreased by 397 000 to 17, 4-million during this quarter. The number of discouraged workseekers decreased by 56 000 (1,4%) and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 341 000 (2,4%) between the two quarters.

These changes in the labour market resulted in the official unemployment rate increasing by 0,4 of a percentage point from 34,9% in the third quarter of 2021 to 35,3% in the fourth quarter of 2021 – the highest since the start of the QLFS in 2008.

The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment decreased by 0,4 of a percentage point to 46,2 % in quarter 4 2021 compared to quarter 3 2021.

Formal sector employment increased by 143 000 jobs between Q3:2021 and Q4:2021, while the informal sector shed 48 000 jobs in the same period.

Between the 3rd quarter of 2021 and 4th quarter of 2021, a net increase in employment of 262 000, was mainly due to an increase recorded in Private households (129 000), Trade (118 000) and Community and social services (73 000). Decreases were observed mainly in Manufacturing (85 000), followed by Construction (25 000).