10 million South Africans suffer in silence and 900 hundred join them every day. We are all too clever as we talk about public protectors, scandals, politics and infighting. BUT we and our government love forgetting the unemployed. Journalists forget them, Politicians talk for them but never too them. Working people hope they never have to deal with this problem, Economists have no idea what to do about them, It’s a mess.
The reality is that wider unemployment numbers from all three countries below show that the USA and Germany combined have fewer unemployed people than SA! We are at present one of perhaps 3 countries with more than 10 million people unemployed. (The others are China and perhaps India. comparable numbers are not easy for wider definitions) Both those countries have 20 times the population than SA!
The next graphic shows the standard rates of selected big economies around the globe. SA unemployment is now higher than Greece ever was during the great financial crisis. The country freed up and worked hard and the rate dropped by just over 10% in a decade.
Even graduate unemployment is getting close to 10% or about twice the world average!
In fact, no country has in the modern era had an average unemployment rate of 24,2% over 25 years! If that does not sink in that we have made life difficult to create jobs while free-market countries have seen huge employment growth but SA and its neighbours continue to see very high unemployment rates.
It about education, it’s about quality of education, it’s about ability and it is about making life easier for firm and entrepreneurs. Make life difficult and you condemn people to something that is worse than being a slave. No income, no hope and very little dignity.
The fact that the number released yesterday did not do much to shock the country tells me we are heartless fools. All of us should be asking and debating this and asking ourselves what can we do.
Tell people the truth to not destroy things – yes for sure. Tell people that BEE cannot create jobs as it enriches a few who are already an elite. However, it adds costs and many an enterprising person gets scared for that – yet the BEE forms become more and more for every business to fill in. more loops for business to do and a whole admin system along with it.
Yes labour law is also a little complex but compared to BEE laws this is a minor problem – ask many a small company.
Yes, many other rules also impede on the ability of growth. Also, profits are not here anymore and the tax burden is so high that many of our firms are looking elsewhere.
The mismanagement of the economy is so extreme in the form of corruption, inability to listen to business and people have never run a spaza shop telling Entrepreneurs what is good for them. Infrastructure investment is so small it is meaningless and that was also always a good indicator for SA formal sector job growth.
Remember at the first democratic election the ANC posters said, Jobs Jobs Jobs. Well, the wider number of people unemployed then was 3,7 million we are now at 10,2 or nearly three times as many. The number of people unemployed (by the standard definition) was just under 2 million we are now at 6,7 million or 3,4 times as many.
Meanwhile, SA has had more than five Job summits with commitments. Unions, big business and government get together with a lot of funfairs.
Some small agencies are created but the hole in the job basket is so big two 747’s fly through it every day.
The number of unemployed has increased with 900 people every day for over a decade!
But nothing can prepare or help one comprehend these numbers. That is why they have slipped by again I think. The numbers are unbelievable and just do not seem real.
But 10 million is a real number and that’s many lives destroyed and families in distress. Kids may go to school and eat there. But the parents’ hopelessness must be cutting those kids up too. They are not alone but they together they are lost.
Hopeless hoping for something is probably worse than not having hope. Then we forget the people scraping by working odd jobs picking up kids for others, walking dogs, house sitting, carrying medicine around, watching cars, washing cars, cutting trees and chopping wood.
I hope these graphs just inform you and me. Make us think and say what the real solutions can be or should be.
Read the original article on Mike Schussler – Economist