Quarterly labour force stats: EC job-loss bloodbath

Unemployment in the Eastern Cape skyrocketed by 3.8 percentage points, from 28.4% in the fourth quarter of 2016 (October-December) to 32.2% in the first quarter of 2017 (January-March), according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa today.

This is one of the biggest quarterly increases in unemployment in the province in years, meaning that 110 000 fewer people had work in the first quarter of 2017, totalling 684 000 compared to 574 000 people in the last quarter of 2016.  The devastating tragedy of these figures is that an additional 110 000 people are unable to put food on the table.   This is devasting for the families that are involved.

This province is now paying the price for the ANC’s infighting, factionalism and policy uncertainty.

The expanded rate of unemployment – those persons who have given up looking for a job — rose from 41.3% in the fourth quarter of 2016, to 43.6% in January-March 2017.

This amounts to a job-loss bloodbath, and given the fact that our provincial economy is going to grow by less than 1 percent this year, the employment prospects look very bleak for the Eastern Cape as a whole.

Young people are the most affected by unemployment with over 60% being without a job.  One of the steps needed to turn our economy around is to ensure our young people are equipped with skills that can get them jobs.  This means that we need to fix our education system.

Entrepreneurship training is critical in our schools.

We need to create a climate in this province that is conducive to attracting investment.  Only the private sector can create jobs.  We need a province of entrepreneurs.  The government must do its bit by eradicating corruption, fixing the infrastructure, improving safety, delivering services and governing well.

We all deserve a province that works, where opportunity is rising and hope for the future is created. — Bobby Stevenson MPL, Shadow MEC for Finance