South Africa’s unemployment rate has increased by 1.4% in the second quarter of 2019 to 29%, the highest level since the first quarter of 2008, according to data released by Statistics South Africa. The increase was a result of the number of people who were unemployed rising by 455,000 and the increase in the number of people who were employed rising by 21,000.


  • The total labour force – or all people who are employed and/or actively seeking work – increased by 476 000 to 23 million.
  • The total number of people who are not economically active is 15.5 million. Of these, some 2.7 million are discouraged work seekers.
  • The working age population – or all those aged between 15 years and 64 years – increased by 150 000 in the second quarter to 38.4 million.
  • Out of a total of 10.3 million young people aged between 15 and 24 years, the number who are not in employment, not in education and not in training decreased slightly to about 3.3 million. The unemployment rate for the youth is 56.4%.
  • South Africans with less than matric have an unemployment rate of 34.5%. Those with matric have an unemployment rate of 29.4%. Graduates have an unemployment rate of 9% while those with other tertiary qualifications have an unemployment rate of 18.3%.
  • Employment in the formal sector and in private households declined by 49 000.
  • However, employment in the informal sector increased by 114 000, and in agriculture, by 5 000.
  • Employment losses were recorded in private households, transport, mining, finance and other business services.
  • Jobs growth of 21 000 was mainly driven by the trade, community and social services, construction and manufacturing industries.