The number of job applications per posting have risen on employment platform ZipRecruiter in recent months, as hiring cooled

Government agency Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) shared on Tuesday that the country witnessed a decline in unemployment rates during the third quarter of 2023 compared to the figures logged in the second quarter.

The number of employed individuals during the second quarter was 16.3 million, but it increased by 399,000 in the third quarter, therefore climbing to nearly 16.7 million.

"Additionally, the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 160,000 to 13.1 million, while the discouraged work-seekers decreased by 26,000 in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the second quarter of 2023," Stats SA said, citing Quarterly Labor Force Survey (QLFS) results.

"The unemployment rate, according to the expanded definition, decreased by 0.9 of a percentage point to 41.2% in Q3:2023 compared to quarter 2 of 2023," the agency added.

For formal sector employment, the number increased by 287,000. Meanwhile, the informal sector saw an employment increase of 29,000.

The finance sector recorded an increase in employment of 237,000, while community and social services logged 119,000 more employed individuals. The agriculture industry also marked a gain in employment of 61,000.

However, some industries witnessed a decrease in employment rates. They included manufacturing, mining, transport and utilities whose numbers went down by 50,000, 35,000, 20,000 and 16,000, respectively.

Areas that witnessed employment growth included the coastal South African province KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), which marked an increase of 152,000, and Limpopo, the province bordering Botswana, which saw a 70,000 increase in employment rate.

North-West recorded 61,000 more employed people, while Mpumalanga, the province bordering the nations of Swaziland and Mozambique, witnessed an increase of 44,000.

"The youth remain vulnerable in the labor market, however, the third quarter of 2023 results show that the total number of unemployed youth (15-34 years) decreased by 174 000 to 4.6 million while there was an increase of 237 000 in the number of employed youth to 6.0 million," Stats SA explained.

"This resulted in a decrease in the youth unemployment rate by 1.9 percentage points from 45.3% in quarter 2 of 2023 to 43.4% in quarter 3 of 2023," the government agency added.

Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) was issued earlier this month, revealing that the South African government would adopt a "balanced fiscal stance" to support private sector investment and employment.

While people are getting employed in South Africa, there is still a massive chunk of individuals who rely on the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant, which the South African government introduced to support low-income individuals affected by lockdowns.

The government announced earlier this month that the SRD Grant would continue until March 2025.

Aside from the SRD Grant, the government also provides SASSA gold cards to individuals and families in need of financial assistance. With the help of this card, vulnerable South Africans get monthly financial help from the government.