On 1 June Stats SA released its Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the first quarter of the year, announcing an official unemployment rate of 32,6%.

This number breaks down as follows:

  • Not economically active population has increased by 164,000
  • Discouraged work-seekers have increased by 200,000
  • The formal sector added 79,000 jobs between Q4 2020 and 2021
  • Youth aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years recorded the highest unemployment rates (of age groups) of 63,3% and 41,3% respectively
  • Approximately 3,3 million (32,4%) out of 10,2 million young people aged 15-24 years were not in employment, education or training (NEET)
  • The overall NEET rate increased by 1,7 percentage points

Here are some of our response to the media on what these numbers really mean for young South Africans.


  • Lebo Nke talks to NewzRoom Afrika News as joblessness numbers rise amid economic slowdown and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Watch here > 
  • Rob Urquhart unpacks the numbers and discusses the impact of a low-growth economy on creating the highest youth unemployment in the world for PowerFM Power Drive. Listen here > 
  • Maryana Iskander appears on NewzRooom Afrika AM Report as quarterly labour force survey confirms fears that youth unemployment in South Africa is worse than pre-pandemic levels. Watch here >
  • Lebo Nke talks to ENCA South African morning as Stats SA announce that unemployment is at a 13 year-high with more than 7.2million people now officially out of work. Watch here >

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