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EDITORIAL | Jobless rate has fallen, but let’s not get too ...

Ideas

EDITORIAL | Jobless rate has fallen, but let’s not get too excited

The wider context, including the petrol price hike and latest food cost data, suggests we have no reason to celebrate

Editorial

The announcement on Tuesday that the country’s unemployment rate fell for the first time in seven quarters to 34.5% from 35.3% in the final three months of 2021 should, under normal circumstances, give us hope.

But a cursory look at the numbers and factors influencing the positive change indicates that the smidgeon of growth in employment is fuelled by developments across the globe that, at the same time, have also unleashed an unprecedented increase in energy costs. 

StatsSA said on Tuesday that manufacturing (263,000) and mining (36,000) contributed significantly to the increase in jobs, stoked, it said, by Russia’s war with Ukraine, among other factors. In other words, the commodities boom is, in part, thanks to Vladimir Putin’s warmongering and, as a consequence, we derive some benefit we can’t exactly bank on for the future. Crudely put, this growth in employment should not give anyone hope because it is based on global developments we can’t control...

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