The South African labour market, 1995-2013

3 February 2015
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: J40

This paper investigates the changes in the South African labour market in the post-apartheid period in 1995-2013 by updating the work by Oosthuizen (2006) and Yu (2008). The three main data sources used are the October Household Survey of 1995, the Labour Force Survey of September 2004 and the Quarterly Labour Force Survey of 2013 Quarter 4. It was found that while unemployment has risen over the period, employment has also increased. Nonetheless, the extent of employment increase was not rapid enough to absorb all net entrants in to the labour force, resulting in increasing unemployment, or an employment absorption rate of below 100 per cent. Unemployment continues to be concentrated in specific demographically and geographically defined groups, most notably blacks, the poorly educated and the youngsters residing in Gauteng. Unemployment is a chronic problem for the youth in particular, as nearly three quarters of them never worked before. Finally, the employment absorption rate was the highest in some less developed provinces like Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, thereby suggesting the possible success of the government’s efforts to promote the development in the poorer provinces.

Series title: Working paper 493
1 February 2015
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