Job creation needs radical turnaround to reach target

South Africa aims to create five million jobs by 2020 but has only created 624 000 in the last decade, according to a survey released on Monday.

“The data, which is sourced from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), shows that total employment has increased by an average of only 0.5% a year since 2001,” the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said in a statement.

SAIRR researcher Lucy Holborn said the rate of job creation would need to rise nearly 10 times to meet the government’s job creation targets.

Total employment increased by 624 000 in the last 10 years, according to the latest South Africa Survey, to be published by the SAIRR this week.

“Since 1994, the most jobs in any single year were created between 1997 and 1998, when total employment increased by 1.8-million,” Holborn said.

However, in 2010 South Africa lost 833 000 jobs compared to 2009 — the biggest job loss under democracy.

Decisive action
Holborn said the data showed how difficult it would be to meet the 2020 target, given the trend over the past decade.

“However, in just two years between 1997 and 1999, 3.7-million jobs were created,” she said.

“External economic factors, labour regulation and policies affecting investor sentiment will all play a role in determining how much employment will increase over the next decade.

“The government has control over two of these three influences and it will need decisive action on its part to create the conditions necessary for so many jobs to be created over a relatively short space of time,” Holborn said.

South Africa’s official unemployment rate was 25% in the third quarter of 2011, according to StatsSA.

The 800-page South Africa Survey, which has been produced every year since 1946, assesses aspects of South African life, from unemployment to health and education. — Sapa

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