South Africa’s Unemployment Rate Hits Record High, Becoming the Highest in the World

South Africa’s unemployment rate has surged to a record high, making it the highest among 82 countries monitored by Bloomberg [1]. The jobless rate rose to 34.4% in the second quarter of 2021, up from 32.6% in the previous quarter [1]. This increase in unemployment has been attributed to more than 500 days of lockdown restrictions and could potentially threaten the nation’s expected economic rebound [2].

The unemployment rate, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, reached 44.4% in the second quarter [3]. Data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) revealed that 278,000 more people became unemployed during the last three months of 2021, resulting in another record high unemployment rate [4].

South Africa’s unemployment rate has been steadily increasing since 2008, when the rate was at 23.7% [5]. This alarming rise has caused South Africans to rank unemployment as the country’s biggest problem, according to an Afrobarometer survey [6].

In the third quarter of 2021, South Africa’s unemployment rate reached a record 34.9%, half a percentage point higher than in the second quarter [8]. This increase was partly due to the civil unrest in July, which affected Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces and had a significant impact on the country’s economic performance [8].

The South African government and policymakers are now under pressure to address the worsening unemployment crisis and revive the economy in the face of the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic and its effects on various industries.

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