South Africa’s unemployment rate is now highest in the world – Bloomberg


South Africa’s unemployment rate, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 44.4 percent in the second quarter.

According to Bloomberg, South African companies’ ability to hire is undermined by an education system that doesn’t provide adequate skills, and strict workplace laws that make hiring and firing workers onerous [File: Bloomberg]

South Africa’s unemployment rate surged to the highest on a global list of 82 countries monitored by Bloomberg.

The jobless rate rose to 34.4% in the second quarter from 32.6% in the three months through March, Statistics South Africa said Tuesday in a report released in the capital, Pretoria. The median of three economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was 33.2%.

Unemployment according to the expanded definition, which includes people who were available for work but not looking for a job, rose to 44.4% from 43.2% in the first quarter. While the unemployment rate is now the highest of the countries tracked by Bloomberg, the data from some of those nations is outdated.

The unemployment data is likely to deteriorate in the third quarter because the government tightened Covid-19 curbs in the face of a third wave of infections, hindering efforts to revive an economy that shrank 7% last year. Rising joblessness rate could heap pressure on authorities to extend relief measures that would complicate efforts to stabilize public finances.

The unemployment rate in Africa’s most-industrialized economy has been above 20% for at least two decades, even though output expanded by 5% or more a year in the early 2000s.