Western Cape once again records lowest unemployment rate

The Western Cape has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and despite the continued impact of the drought on the local economy, the province has created 123 000 new jobs since the first quarter of 2017.

The Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey released today, revealed that the national unemployment rate remains unchanged at 26.7% for the first quarter of 2018.

Year-on-year, the official unemployment rate in the province has improved by 1.8%. The province’s unemployment rate remains the lowest in the country at 19.7%. In contrast, the national unemployment rate only improved by one percent over the same period. The Western Cape’s improvement comes in spite of a one in 400 year drought, and the impact of a stronger Rand on the currency-sensitive tourism market.

The Western Cape outperformed all the other provinces, creating 123 000 jobs of the 165 000 jobs created in the country since the first quarter of 2017. In the same period, the country’s biggest provincial economy, Gauteng lost 124 000 jobs.

Over 2.5 million people are now employed in the Western Cape.

The Western Cape recorded the highest labour absorption rate (55.9) which refers to the proportion of the working-age population that is employed.

The number of jobs in the City of Cape Town grew by 78 000 year on year, while the number of jobs in non-metro areas increased by 45 000. These 45 000 jobs are believed to be largely in the tourism sector, as agriculture, the other major employment sector in non-metro areas in the province, showed a year on year decline.

Among the top performing industries for job creation in the province were trade which grew by 18% year on year representing 78 000 jobs and the financial sector which recorded a 15% increase year on year, representing 57 000 jobs.

The agricultural sector added 15 000 jobs quarter on quarter, but, registered a decline of 7 000 jobs year on year- showing the impact of the drought on this sector. The quarterly increase in jobs is most likely because of seasonal workers being employed for the busy harvest season.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said “Our number one goal has been to grow the economy and create jobs. These figures show that our Project Khulisa initiatives and the work done by Wesgro, to secure investment and create new jobs are paying dividends.”

“Business confidence data for the first quarter also showed really positive sentiment, and the fact that the Western Cape has once again recorded the lowest rate of unemployment in the country, despite the impact of a sustained drought is testament to the resilience of the province’s economy.”

“This year, we are launching Project Good Hope, a marketing campaign aimed at showing investors just how much the Western Cape has to offer, and these positive signs in the provincial economy will act as proof points of the strength of our economy.”

Source: Western Cape Government media release.

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