#Unemployment a concern in FS – Brown

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Free State Finance MEC Gadija Brown
Free State Finance MEC Gadija Brown has expressed her concern at the increasing unemployment rate in the province.

OFM News reports, tabling the 2020/21 Adjustment Budget in the Free State Provincial Legislature (MPL), Brown said it is extremely concerning that an estimated 33 000 jobs have been lost in the province between April and September this year alone. This, as the province’s unemployment rate increased to 35.5% in the 3rd quarter in 2020, compared to 34.5% in the same quarter of 2019. Brown said it is further concerning that unemployment remains highest amongst the youth aged between 15 and 34 years.

Brown’s statement comes just over two weeks after Statistics South Africa indicated that Unemployment in South Africa has soared to 30.8% in the last three months. This comes after Stats SA in September reported that despite the South African economy shedding 2.2 million jobs due to the Covid-19 lockdown, unemployment in the country dropped to 23.3% in the second quarter of 2020.

According to the report, women and children remain the worst affected. Brown said it is worrisome that 53.7% of the youth in the Free State are without jobs.

“Speaker, it is concerning that the provincial economy is projected to decline by an average of 0.9 percent over the next five years. These bleak forecasts will make it even more difficult for the government to tackle the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The steep economic decline will further impact negatively on the government’s ability to generate revenue, thus adversely affecting service delivery and impose constraints of the broader fiscal framework,” said Brown.

KATLEHO MORAPELA/OFM News