Since the political transition in 1994, South Africa has witnessed the acceleration of its already high unemployment rate. South Africa currently has one of the highest unemployment rates internationally. This is the culmination of a long-term, yet steady, rise in unemployment that started as early as the 1970s (Seeking and Natrass 2006), but which has rapidly accelerated in the post-apartheid period. South Africa as a developing country has faced a crisis of the high rate of unemployment in recent years. In the South African labour market, unemployment has remained a crucial social and economic issue. The inheritance of the apartheid socio-politic ant and socio-economic history in the South African labour market has created some structural imbalances that have resulted in alarming and remorseless high rate of unemployment in the labour market .Sixteen years after the apartheid era, social policy programs to address the problems of socio-economic and socio-political have done nothing to alleviate unemployment in the South African labour market. In the period of 2008 and2009 there were also external forces such as world economy recession that influenced the instability in the labour market and also placed South Africa in an unviable position. South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world , currently standing at 25,2% based on figures released by Stat SA (2012).Unemployment is a real matter of concern , as it can yield devastating effects on economic welfare ,crime ,erosion of human capital, social exclusion ,misery and social instability ,(Kingdom and Knights , 2007). In 2011, President Jacob Zuma declared the year as the South Africa’s year of job creation in his State of the Nation address in Parliament and announced several initiatives to boost job creation including a R9-billion jobs fund, unemployment still appears to be one of the biggest social challenging areas in the country. ) High unemployment over the last decade has led to heated debates about the extent and causes of the problem and policies to address it. The New Growth Path (NGP) endorsed by the South African cabinet in 2010 aims to create five million jobs by 2020 in order to reduce South African unemployment. The high rate of youth unemployment has also contributed to the massive unemployment rate in South Africa .High rates of youth unemployment represent both widespread personal misfortune for individuals and a lost opportunity for critical national and global economic development. Unemployment in youth has been shown to have lifelong effects on income and employment stability because affected young people start-out with weaker early –career credentials, and show lower confidence and resilience in dealing with labour market opportunities and setbacks over the course of their working lives.(Global Employment Trends for Youth ,2011 update (www.ilo.org). Rising unemployment is a source of considerable concern to both policymakers and labour market participants. So, this essay is going to discuss nature of unemployment in South Africa and the possible solutions to address unemployment and why it is a crucial social and economic issue facing South African labour market.
Labour Force (South Africa)
Many recent studies focusing on the post-apartheid era (Banerjee et al. (2006), Burger and Woodard (2005), Branson and Wittenberg (2007)) have emphasized the role of the rapid increase in labour market participation in driving unemployment upwards, rather than the demand for labour, which remained comparatively stable over the same period. This then removes the focus from a “jobless growth” scenario, but begs the question of which factors initiated an exodus into a perhaps saturated labour market.Included in the labour force is the proportion of the working-age population (between 15 and 65 years of age)that is economically active (employed and unemployed). Excluded are people of working age who are not available for work...
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