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FEDUSA: FEDUSA welcomes decline in unemployment rate

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FEDUSA: FEDUSA welcomes decline in unemployment rate

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15th February 2017

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The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) welcomes the release of the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) showing that the number of employed persons increased from 15 833 million in September 2016 to 16 069 million in December 2016. Employment rose in all sectors; formal sector employment increased by 127 000, while informal sector employment increased by 53 000. Employment in agriculture rose by 38 000 and private household employment rose by 17 000 in December 2016, said Dennis George, FEDUSA General Secretary.

The unemployment rate decreased from 27.1 percent in September 2016 to 26.5 percent in December 2016.

The union federation also welcomed the fact that 235 000 people were able to secure employment opportunities and extend the prospects of re-employment to advance economic growth prospects. According to StatsSA, job creation was led by the services industry which grew by 73 000, followed by transport and manufacturing that saw 46 000 and 44 000 new jobs respectively.

However the numbers also show that employment levels dropped by 17 000 and 9 000 in mining and construction industries respectively.
“The massive decline in employment levels in the mining industry remains a matter of serious concerns to FEDUSA as a lot of our membership resides in that sector,” said FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George. This is the ninth consecutive decline in the mining industry since the fourth quarter of 2014; it is deeply distressing and raises much doubt about the overall effectiveness of the Mining Phakisa interventions, argued George.

“We appeal to government to reinvigorate the interventions that were introduced under operation Phakisa to save the industry from stagnation and potential collapse as this would destroy the livelihoods of our members and mineworkers in general”.

StatsSA also revealed that young people between the ages of 15 and 34 years remain very vulnerable in the labour market with many of them unable to find any jobs. The figure of unemployment among young people is as high as 37.1 percent, which is 10.6 percentage points above the national average.

“We remain seriously concerned about youth unemployment which is on the rise again, and is obviously linked to the large number of young people who would like to be productive but have been severely discouraged by the scarcity of jobs and lack of supporting programmes such as skills training and placement facilities,” emphasized George.

FEDUSA urgently appeals to the Business Constituency to make full use of the extended provisions in the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, 2017, that effectively extended the Employment Tax Incentive Scheme (ETI) by another two-year period, through the incentivization of employing youth between the ages of 18-29 years. These positive developments and policy interventions can only contribute towards the collective actions championed by the social partners, demonstrating total commitment to the promises made during the international investor roadshow and the 2016 South Africa Tomorrow Investor ETI Programmes and others, offers some solution to addressing the structural challenges of unemployment, whilst attempting to increase the levels of employability and experience of all our unemployed youth and graduates who fail to secure formal employment, concluded George.

 

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