Scary numbers – youth unemployment, JSE delistings

It’s hard to assess the true extent of unemployment in South Africa. The national statistics agency said this week that the rate has jumped to just over 30% – or one in every three is unable to find work.

Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings points out that the figure is conservative. The number of people who are ‘not economically active’ is around 43% – so not far off half of adults. Drill into the details further and you will see that most young adults are not gainfully employed. Youth unemployment, he notes, is ‘staggering’ at just over 74%.

Put another way, of the total youth population of 10.259m in Q3, only 796,000 had jobs in the formal or informal sector. Many might be studying, but the figure highlights ‘the extreme difficulty’ young people experience trying to get their first job – and points to a ‘national crisis’, comments Lings.

Moving on to another statistic that provides a clue to solving the high rate of joblessness: In this week’s BizDigest (download here) you will see 60% of companies that listed in the mid-2000s have disappeared from public view. The number of stocks available on the Johannesburg exchange has roughly halved since 2000.

SA has been losing its attractiveness as an investment destination, which in turn means opportunity costs in growing businesses that create employment.

PS: For insights on how to grow your wealth through investing in shares in SA and elsewhere, download this week’s Inside Investing podcast (here). Hosted by BizNews founder Alec Hogg, it includes fascinating details on Capitec vs other SA banks.

Webinar alert

Today’s free BizNews Finance Friday webinar includes Schalk Malan, the qualified actuary who is the main architect behind BrightRock’s unique human-centric life insurance. He’ll be sharing some interesting developments on innovative financial services offerings and on BrightRock. Independent financial advisor Dawn Ridler and Rob Macdonald, who specialises in training financial advisors, and will share insights on the influence of behaviour on investment outcomes are also available to answer your questions.