Labour force survey: sad jump in EC unemployment

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey for Quarter 1 of 2016 was released by Statistics South Africa today.

The big jump in the unemployment rate for the Eastern Cape is a bitter blow, the pain of which will be felt in people’s stomachs as they battle to put food on the table.

According to today’s Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate is up from 27.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 28.6% and the expanded unemployment rate now stands at 44.5%, up from 40.3% in the previous quarter – the largest increase in the country, of 4.2 percentage points.

The focus of local and provincial government must be to ensure job creation is prioritised.  Our cities and towns must be drivers of job-creating growth.  Local government and provincial government must create an environment where businesses want to invest and entrepreneurs can thrive.

We need to make the starting and growing of businesses easier because we know that businesses are the engine of job creation.  They can jump-start our province’s economy and provide the jobs we need to move forward again.

At local government level, we need to make the changes that will eliminate excessive red tape and ensure rezonings and planning approvals take place speedily.  One-stop shops also need to be set up to assist investors.

The province needs to ensure value for money when it comes to infrastructure spending and wastage does not occur on travel, accommodation and meetings.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has consistently experienced the highest official unemployment rate of all the metros, going up again, from 30.6% in the previous quarter to 33.2% in Jan-Mar 2016.  Buffalo City is currently at 24.1%, up from 23.8% in the previous quarter.

The Eastern Cape can be a province of rising opportunity for all.  We need to restore dignity and hope by creating real opportunity that is uncorrupted by patronage politics.  With the right policies and the right people, we can introduce the change that will move this province forward again. — Bobby Stevenson MPL, Shadow MEC for Finance