Unemployment: South Africa' Achilles' Heel

John Knight and Geeta Kingdon

in South African Economic Policy under Democracy

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199551460
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720376 | DOI:
Unemployment: South Africa' Achilles' Heel

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This chapter examines unemployment trends since the time of the democratization of South Africa. It argues that the rise in unemployment is best explained by the rapid growth in the labour force relative to the growth of formal sector employment, as a result of which the burgeoning residual labour force was absorbed either into the informal sector, which might disguise unemployment, or into open unemployment. The growth of each of these variables is examined in more detail: in Section 2 the labour force, in Section 3 formal sector employment, and in Section 4 informal sector employment. The main topic, unemployment, is covered in Section 5. Section 6 updates the analysis by examining the period 2003-7 and poses the question: has a turning point now been reached? Section 7 concludes.

Keywords: unemployment; labour force; employment; informal sector

Chapter.  11955 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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