The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Chairperson, Yershen Pillay expressed concern over the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) Quarter 1 of 2014 released by Statistics South Africa which indicated that unemployment amongst youth and young females in particular has increased since 2008.

According to the QLFS Quarter 1 2014 report, the youth unemployment rate has increased from 32.7% in 2008 to 36.1% in 2014. Additionally, the unemployment rate amongst young females has increased to 39.5% nationally.

According to Pillay, “Although youth unemployment has increased we must take note of the fact that more young people are employed than ever before. Additionally we must call upon all stakeholders to work together and create more opportunities for youth as a matter of urgency. We are aware that young females are more vulnerable to the greater socio economic issues that affect the youth in general. Unemployment is but one of these major issues, as the survey indicates with unemployment amongst females at 39.5% compared to male youth unemployment at 33.4%. As the NYDA, we remain committed to ensuring that the gap between male and female young people is bridged and that young females continue to access the multitude of opportunities provided by government.”

Discouraged work seekers amongst youth has also increased by 3.5% from 2008 to 2014, moreover, 41% of employed young people are still engaged in low-skilled occupations. As a result of this the majority of young people earn between R2500 and R6000 a month and this demonstrates the magnitude of work that needs to be undertaken by government, business, labour and communities.

“The increase in young discouraged work seekers is a major concern for the NYDA as it emphasises just how much still needs to be achieved in ensuring young people acquire relevant skills and education that will make them employable. The Youth Employment Accord which links skills development to job creation remains the most viable blueprint for reducing youth unemployment in South Africa. Government, business, labour and civil society organisations must work together and intensify efforts at job creation for youth. The NYDA hopes to improve coordination in efforts already being implemented and to further develop a long-term youth employment strategy,” said Pillay.

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