SA’s unemployment numbers don’t take informal sector into account – GG Alcock

GG Alcock joined the BizNews Energy Hour, on the day after the unemployment knowledge for South Africa had been launched. The figures confirmed horrific numbers, however Alcock offers some context on the numbers – and the way in which they’re put collectively. The writer of “Kasinomics: African Casual Economies and the Folks Who Inhabit Them” weighs in on the world-leading unemployment figures, noting that “we’ve got to outline how we measure unemployment. One of many huge issues with the numbers that we see is that it says unemployment, not formal unemployment.” – Jarryd Neves

GG Alcock on SA’s unemployment figures:

To start with, we’ve got to outline how we measure [it]. One of many huge issues with the numbers that we see is that it says unemployment – it doesn’t say formal unemployment. Really, it must say that as a result of something exterior of somebody who earns a payslip is, in essence, not measured by these numbers. In case you don’t have a pay slip, not formally employed [and] within the casual sector, this isn’t measured. Whereas I believe it’s a tragedy and it’s horrible that unemployment is so excessive, it’s not a real reflection. I have to add different types of earnings producing actions – and easy one which I’ve referred to previously is rental. Primarily backroom rental, which is a R20 billion a 12 months sector within the townships and sure rural areas. That’s cash that individuals are incomes who could also be formally unemployed (and informally unemployed) however are nonetheless incomes earnings by way of different actions. That’s not measured in our numbers.

On Kasinomics:

The underlying precept of it’s that there’s a large financial system that sits within the casual sector. I name it kasinomics, as a result of I don’t just like the idea of “casual” – it implies unsophisticated, small scale, low tech, disorganised which, in fact, it’s not. The time period kasinomics refers back to the township, however purely as a time period to maneuver away from the casual financial system. The idea of kasinomics is, in essence, that inside our internal cities, rural areas, townships and even across the suburbs, there’s an enormous casual financial system – that isn’t solely large by way of massive numbers of individuals and small companies, however large quantities of turnover that many of those companies are turning over.

The spaza sectors is a R150 billion sector with 100,000 retailers. The quick meals sector is a R90bn, 50,000 outlet sector. The hair salon sector [is] R10bn, the muti sector (conventional natural drugs) is a R19bn sector, with 150,000 individuals employed in it. The taxi sector [with] 250,000 taxis [is a] R50bn a 12 months sector. There’s others just like the auto sector – panel beaters, mechanics and so on. It’s about 80,000 individuals. Then there’s the rental sector. Backroom rental is value about R20bn a 12 months. over and above the residential again from rental, the spaza sector that I discussed primarily rents. Add all of this up and also you’ve bought a reasonably substantial sector.

On what the unemployment determine is, with this taken under consideration:

I’m saying it’s nearer to 15%, which remains to be unacceptable. I’m actually utilizing that as a base of after I did the extra correct calculations [which] was round 10% to 12%.

If I’m going and ask a social grant recipient, “are you an employed?” they usually reply, “no, I earn a social grant.” I don’t say, “do you do the rest other than a social grant? Do you sit at house and take care of your children?” She says, “oh no, what I additionally do is promote greens. I additionally lease a again room.” We don’t measure this. The gig financial system is an efficient instance worldwide, we’ve got to outline what a job is, in a different way and what the earnings is. We don’t measure it that method. We’ve got a society that considers a job as a payslip. There are a selection of things. The issue with this, to start with, is that it places us all in a deep, darkish despair – which isn’t crucial. Secondly, we begin taking a look at interventions wrongly.

We don’t take a look at interventions that assist this casual sector or individuals who have a number of jobs. So after we take a look at options for this large unemployment challenge, we outline what a job is [wrongly] after which we outline what the answer is [wrongly]. This can be a large sort of wheel we’re caught in.

Learn extra:

GG Alcock: It’s not about poverty or unemployment – cease the hand wringing and nonetheless the violins 
‘Unapologetic civil society energy will develop from riots’ – GG Alcock
Third World Baby GG Alcock: Frequent sense optimism about SA

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