South Africa

South Africa’s youth unemployment disaster

The Spectator Index’s 2023 youth unemployment rate list reveals that South Africa has the worst youth unemployment among all included countries.

The Spectator Index is run by Dr. Abdul-Latif Halimi from Melbourne, Australia, who shares analysis and insight into political and economic developments.

Statistics South Africa said the youth in South Africa continue to be disadvantaged in the labour market, with an unemployment rate higher than the national average.

South Africa has over 10 million young people aged 15 to 24 years, and of these, only 2.5 million were in the labour force, either employed or unemployed.

The largest share, 7.7 million, of this group of young people are those out of the labour force.

The main reason for being inactive is discouragement, which means they have lost hope of finding a job that suits their skills or in the area they reside.

37% of this group were disengaged from the labour market in South Africa. These are regarded as youth not in employment, education or training.

There has been an increase in the not in employment, education, or training rate for both males and females.

Participation in employment, education or training is important for youth to find employment and achieve self-sufficiency.

While the South African National Budget includes tax relief to help support the economic recovery, including incentives for youth employment, issues of youth unemployment remain.

Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa said according to Stats SA, youth unemployment in South Africa is at 66.5%.

“No society can expect to grow or thrive when the vast majority of its young people are out of work,” Ramaphosa said.

The Spectator Index’s 2023 youth unemployment ranking

The table below shows The Spectator Index’s 2023 youth unemployment ranking. It shows just how poorly South Africa performs against global benchmarks.

CountryYouth Unemployment
South Africa59.60%
Angola56.70%
Nigeria53.40%
Spain32.30%
Morocco31.70%
Greece27.30%
Italy23.90%
Sri Lanka23.80%
Iran23.60%
Turkey21.90%
Sweden20.30%
France18.20%
Belgium17.70%
Portugal17.60%
Croatia15.50%
Denmark13.60%
Ireland12.10%
Poland11.30%
Finland10.70%
United Kingdom10.50%
Austria10.30%
Canada10.10%
Hungary9.50%
Norway9.20%
United States8.20%
Thailand8.00%
Vietnam8.00%
Netherlands7.80%
Australia7.70%
South Korea5.90%
Germany5.80%
Japan4.30%
Switzerland1.90%

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