Unemployment stats: Economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout
The Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released today (24 August 2021) reveals that at 25.8%, the Western Cape continues to have the lowest official unemployment rate and at 29.1%, the Western Cape continues to have the lowest expanded unemployment rate in South Africa.
Encouragingly, we’ve seen a quarter-on-quarter growth of 49,000 jobs in agriculture, 19,000 jobs in construction and 11,000 jobs in transport.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown restrictions continue to have a major impact on the provincial economy and quarter-on-quarter 53,000 jobs were lost.
And, at the end of the day, we know that too many people, especially young people, have lost their jobs and their livelihoods since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And so, we will continue to engage with national government on the safe opening of the economy and the provision of financial support measures so that we can help businesses to continue operating during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In fact, last week I wrote to the Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, congratulating her on her new appointment and enquiring about the “once-off business survival funding mechanism” announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 25 July 2021.
We understood that the “once-off business survival funding mechanism” could be accessed by small businesses across the country who have been negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, our concern is that it now appears that these funds will only be directed to small businesses negatively affected by the looting and unrest in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng.
Which is why we have approached the minister for clarity on the scope of the “once-off business survival funding mechanism”.
In the end, the fact is that economic recovery depends on vaccinating as many people as fast as possible, because with more jabs, there will be more jobs in the Western Cape.
Which is why we are also continuing to focus with urgency on the vaccine rollout which will in time reduce the severity of the Covid-19 waves on lives and livelihoods in the Western Cape.
I encourage everyone to get their jab as soon as possible to protect yourself, your family and your community from Covid-19.
If you have any concerns about the efficacy or safety of the Covid-19 vaccine, please speak to a qualified healthcare professional. And please don’t distribute unverified information or fake news which may cause fear or vaccine hesitancy, especially among those who are high risk such as the elderly.
From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic the private sector has shown great resilience, great initiative and great innovation and we are incredibly grateful for their support.
And we remain committed to working with business and backing business to that together we can rebuild the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape.
Listen to soundbyte from Minister David Maynier:
Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)
Cell: 071 087 5150