JOBSEEKERS are more likely to strike employment luck in Durban than in Cape Town or Johannesburg, figures released last week show.
eThekwini’s official unemployment rate stood at 16.5% compared with Johannesburg’s (26.2%) and Cape Town’s (22.6%), according to Statistics SA’s quarterly Labour Force Survey.
Nelson Mandela Bay has the highest unemployment at 33.2%.
The number of employed people increased by 198,000, while the number of unemployed dropped by 305,000, according to the survey.
Community and social services, as well as the construction trade industries drove up employment, while finance, manufacturing and agriculture shed jobs.
Labour economist Loane Sharp said Durban was for years the “ugly sister” of major cities, with businesses preferring Johannesburg or Cape Town. “Attractive wage and benefit(s) helped businesses set up new operations or expand existing ones. As a result, Durban was one of the best-kept secrets among South African investment destinations,” Mr Sharp said. That has changed.
“Blue-chip companies are … basing operations (in Durban) and small-scale businesses are thriving. Considering that 81% of eThekwini’s small business owners are black and 91% of employment in the area occurs in small or medium enterprises, Durban has staged something of a comeback and is an example for the rest of the economy to follow,” Mr Sharp said.
EThekwini mayor James Nxumalo cited a sector development programme facilitated by the municipality’s economic development and investment promotion unit as reason for Durban’s jobs success.
Through Durban’s Investment Dashboard strategy, which had 65 active projects to the value of R620bn, the city planned to generate more than 600,000 permanent jobs, he said.