Friday, February 24, 2017

Unemployment and Entrepreneurship in South Africa

According to Investopedia unemployment is a phenomenon that occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work. The most frequent measure of unemployment is the unemployment rate, which is the number of unemployed people divided by the number of people in the labor force. Investopedia identifies three categories of unemployment; frictional unemployment when a person is in-between jobs; cyclical unemployment usually occurs during recessionary periods of economic growth; and structural unemployment due to technological advances causing individuals to lose their jobs because their skills are outdated. The working age population in South Africa includes individuals age fifteen to sixty-four. From January 2015 to March 2016 the unemployment rates in South Africa have increased by 2.5% bringing South Africa’s unemployment rate to 36.3%. (Statistical Release ,page 15) Specifically the City of Johannesburg’s unemployment rates stand at 29.8% while the City of Cape Town currently holds a 21.1% unemployment rate. (Statistical Release, page 16) Figure 17 on page 19 of Statistical Release shows unemployment rates by sex in South Africa from January 2010 to March of 2016. According to Figure 17 the unemployment rate for women has increased every year since 2010 ranging from 25.9% to currently standing at 29.3%. Too many South African women are unemployed to date.
In the novel Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton,  Theophilus takes time to discuss some of the problems in South Africa. Theophilus states that some women in South Africa are offering up their daughter or themselves in order to cover debts owed. One of the biggest problems Theophilus sheds light on is the fact that people from other towns are migrating into cities like Johannesburg taking what little job opportunities are available leading to members who live within said communities to be unemployed. The effects of the members in these communities being unemployed include poverty, unsatisfactory health conditions, unstable income within the homes,  and even increased crime rates.
Reportedly, In 2016 there are 18,456 women that make up the South African population. Out of the 18,456 woman reportedly living in South Africa 2,826 are unemployed to date. (Statistical Release, Page 24)  The available labor force categories offered in South Africa are Formal sector, Informal sector, Agriculture, and private households. According to the Statistical Release Appendix 1 Table 2, about 1,313 of the unemployed women are listed as discouraged work-seekers. While participating in this Social Change Trip my intentions are to reach some of the discouraged job-seeking and unemployed South African women attending the workshop. The goal is to create an environment where they are able to imagine themselves as entrepreneurs in their communities. I intend to reach these women by encouraging them to identify a skill that they do very well while brainstorming ways to capitalize on that skill. In 2016 women entrepreneurs in the United States are owning more businesses and producing more income simply because they understood that they could be making money by offering a service that they do really well. Women entrepreneurs own 10.6 million businesses according to Entrepreneur. These businesses account for $2.5 trillion in sales.
By the end of my worship the expectation is that the women have  1) built up enough confidence and courage to be their own boss 2) identified and begun planning the logistics of their new business venture and 3) built a unified supportive and interactive network of women who attended the workshop and myself. With the number of “discouraged job-seekers” being so high I think it is very important to help the members of these communities see that they do not need a boss other than themselves.

Works Cited.
Paton, A. (1948). Cry, the beloved country. New York: C. Scribner's Sons.
R. (2014). Investopedia, Unemployment. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from
Statistical Release (2016). Quarterly Labour Force Survey. South Africa
Women Entrepreneurs - Women Business Owner Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved December

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