Unemployment in South Africa
Definition of Unemployment
Barker (1999:165) defines the unemployed person as the one who is without work, is currently available for work, and is seeking or wants to work. The unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed persons taken as percentage of the economically active population, which includes both the employed and the unemployed.

According to Stats SA, South Africa’s youth unemployment stood at a staggering 36.1% of the total unemployment rate in 2014, most of them unemployed youth were Black Africans and Coloured.

Figure 1
The figure demonstrates the percentages of youth unemployment by race in 2014:
39.4% of Black Africans
35.3% of Coloureds
15.7% of Indian/Asians
9.6% of Whites
Stats SA pointed to a mismatch of skills and available jobs, As many as 55% of young people, who are actively looking for jobs, have education levels below matric, while an additional 36.4% only have a matric qualification. The youth make up 55% of the country’s 35.8 million working-age population. And of the 19.7 million youths only 6.2 million were employed, while 3.6 million were unemployed although still actively looking for a job. About 1.53 million youths had given up looking for work, thus the remaining 8.4 million young people are at school or doing tertiary education, or were home-makers. Since 2008 youth unemployment has been on the rise from 32.7% to 36.1% in 2014, this indicates that youth unemployment is much higher than the adult employment. The overall South African unemployment rate increased from 22% in 1994 to 25% in 2014, and the expanded unemployment rate for South Africa was 35% for both 1994 and 2014.

Figure 2
Figure 3
Number of unemployed by race (1994 vs 2014)
Black Africans
Figure 4
40% of Black Africans were unemployed in 2014 compared to the 43% in 1994; this is a slight improvement meaning that unemployment is decreasing in the black community.

The Coloured race unemployment increased by 4% from 24% in 1994 to 28% in 2014.
The Indian/Asian race unemployment increased by 1% from 17% in 1994 to 18% in 2014.
The White race’s unemployment rate also increased by 1% from 7% to 8%.
What this means is the in terms of race the White and Indian/Asian still have the upper hand when it comes to being employed, as compared to the Black Africans and Coloured who have numbers of unemployment.

Number of unemployed by highest level of education (1994 vs 2014)
No Matric
Figure 5
Unemployment has increased for all educational levels. The unemployment rate for those with tertiary qualifications has increased from 6% to 14%, currently it doesn’t matter how educated you are the prospects of graduates finding employment are difficult. Graduates have now been reduced to take up jobs that are not in line with what they studied for, you now get graduates with a Bachelor’s degrees in call-centres that’s just how real unemployment is for the youth and graduates.

Figure 6
Around 19% of the Black Africans

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South Africa’S Youth Unemployment And Unemployment Rate. (May 31, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/south-africas-youth-unemployment-and-unemployment-rate-essay/