The statistics available through StatsSA suggest that over the period 2000 to 2011 there has been an increase in the working age population of 14.8% yet only a 9.7% increase in the employed population. Significantly the ‘not looking’ population leaped by 53.3%, the ‘inactive’ by 15.6%. the official unemployed by 13.5% and the broader unemployed (by our definition) by 18.6%.
Clearly, job creation is not keeping pace with the growth in the working age population. This may not seem that critical until you look at the unemployment rates for 2011. The official unemployment rate is 23.9%. By our measure, the broader unemployment rate is a whopping 58.6%. Distressingly, the official unemployment rate for ages 16 to 25 is said to be 50% or worse. What would that be measured by our measure? Perhaps a lot more than 50%.
Critics will argue that we can’t add the inactives to the work force. The Direct Democracy Forum’s (DDF’s) contention is, however, that inactives would gladly join the work force had they the means and the opportunity. Where can you earn more on the dole than in the workplace? Any such society where you could earn more on the dole than in the work-force would not have a work force. They would all be on the dole. We also take the view that we should be looking at the worse case scenario (our ‘broader’ perspective) so we do not fool ourselves about the extent or the nature of the problem.
But whether we take the official rates or the DDF’s broader-based rates there is cause for serious concern. This is a shocking and dangerous situation and is the arch-typical ticking time-bomb. Worse still, it is totally unjust on the employed work-force who have to pay not just for their own livelihoods but also the taxes that support those millions who are unemployed, no longer looking and inactive in the economy. A massive effort is required to convert all those inactive in the work-place, into active contributors to their own own welfare, the welfare of the economy and of society at large.Strategy: