The Western Cape’s 27.9% unemployment rate is now considered to be the lowest unemployment rate in the country. This is according to the Quarter Labour Force Survey (QLFS).
Despite a marginal increase of 1.2% in the expanded unemployment rate, the province’s general economic contraction of 7.7% was lower than the national average of 8.5%, the survey revealed.
Provinces like Gauteng stand with a worrying unemployment percentage of 41.6%, while the Eastern Cape’s unemployment rate stands at almost 50%.
As reported by IOL, Stats SA published its latest QFLS on Tuesday, June 1, and it indicates how the number of unemployed people across the country increased by 8 000 to 7.2 million, compared to the last three months of 2020. The number of disheartened job seekers increased by 201 000.
The QLFS also indicates that the Western Cape remains South Africa’s business-friendly province of choice. This comes after 10.9% of the workforce, or 184 000 residents worked from home in the last quarter in the province.
In a statement, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) spokesperson for Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism, Deidré Baartman, said the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting lockdowns have led to one of the worst economic downturns in recent years as the economy slowly recovers.
Baartman said the provincial government has launched several programmes and funding opportunities since April 2020, and this has worked to protect jobs and SMMEs, support the tourism industry, and assist businesses in reopening safely under restrictions.
“This will see not only the recovery of the economy but also the creation of thousands of jobs. That is why we call on the national government to deliver on its promises, such as the President’s commitment to unlocking R1 trillion worth of investment in infrastructure which stands to create jobs and a business and investor-friendly environment that we desperately need, ” Baartman said.
Baartman said that even though many people in the province are working from home, the Western Cape has the highest number of residents, 10.9% of the province’s 2.3 million workforce.
“With four of the nine provinces, currently experiencing a third wave in infections of COVID-19, I encourage residents to continue to work from home, whenever possible. We need to take every opportunity to flatten the curve not only to protect lives but also safeguard our businesses and jobs, ” Baartman added.