The most interesting thing about the latest unemployment figures is that they show that the Western Cape is doing significantly better than the rest of the country.
The national unemployment figure has risen to 27.1% for the third quarter of the present year, but in the Western Cape it stands at 21.7%, the lowest in the country.
I don’t think this is cause for celebration but the Statistician General’s figures clearly show that we are doing less badly than South Africa as a whole.
The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, reveals a similar picture. The National figure for the last quarter is 36.3% while the corresponding figure for the Western Cape is significantly lower at 24.8%, once again the lowest in the country.
The figures are surprising as agriculture is one of our most important industries and one would expect a decline in a severe drought year like the one we are experiencing now.
Cape Town was also doing “less badly” than other major cities except Durban. In Cape Town the unemployment rate for the last quarter was 23% compared to 20.2% for Durban. However, the rate for non-metro areas in the Western Cape was 19.3% while the figure for the non-metro areas of KZN was 47.8%.
The increase in the jobless rate paints a distressing picture of the lack of growth in the economy, but I would like to think that we in the Western Cape will be inspired to work even harder to achieve some real growth and relief for the poor.
President of the Cape Chamber