A Third of SA’s Labour Force Unemployed

A Third of SA’s Labour Force Unemployed


Almost 30 percent of South Africa’s labour force is unemployed, according to the 2011 census results released by Statistics SA.

This includes only people who had actively sought work in the week prior to the survey. When those who have given up looking for work are included, the census says 40 percent are unemployed.

The census found the size of the workforce to be 18.7-million people.

According to the census, South Africa therefore has between 5.5-million unemployed people on the “narrow definition” and 8.7-million on the broad definition, which includes discouraged work-seekers.

Unemployment differs per province

However, these figures mask large variations between provinces. Unemployment is worst in Limpopo at just less than 40 percent on the narrow measure and 50 percent on the broader one. This is followed by the Eastern Cape with rates of 38 percent on the narrow definition and 51 percent on the broader.

The province with the lowest unemployment rate is the Western Cape with a rate of just more than 20 percent on the narrow measure and slightly more than 30 percent on the broader.

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