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The Post-Apartheid Labour Market: 1995-2004


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  • Morné Oosthuizen

    (Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town)


This paper seeks to investigate some of the changes that have occurred within the South African labour market in the post-apartheid era between 1995 and 2004 and some of the challenges the labour market presents in the attainment of shared growth, updating previous work by Bhorat and Oosthuizen (2004). The two main sources of data are the October Household Survey of 1995 and the Labour Force Survey of September 2004. The paper has found that while the unemployment rate has risen over the period, total employment has increased, bringing into question the notion of jobless growth. Unemployment, however, continues to be concentrated in specific demographically and geographically defined groups, most notably rural dwellers, Africans, females, the poorly educated and the young and, for many, represents a long-term problem. Disturbingly, unemployment has continued to grow rapidly amongst relatively educated members of the labour force, despite the skills shortage faced by the country. An individual’s probability of being employed is found to depend on his or her race, gender, age, location and level of education. However, it appears that gender plays less of a role in determining the probability of employment in 2004 than in 1995, although this is not true of race. Length: 68 pages

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit in its series Working Papers with number 06103.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working Paper Series by the Development Policy Research Unit, February 2006, pages 1-68
Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:06103

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Keywords: South Africa: labour market; unemployment; jobless growth;

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  1. D. Mahadea, 2003. "Employment And Growth In South Africa: Hope Or Despair?," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(1), pages 21-48, 03.
  2. Morné Oosthuizen, 2003. "Expected Labour Demand in South Africa, 1998-2003," Working Papers 03081, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  3. C Sellars, 2000. "Unemployment, Policy and Social Partnership," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 68(3), pages 216-228, 09.
  4. Elsabé Loots, 1998. "Job Creation and Economic Growth," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 66(3), pages 155-163, 09.
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Cited by:
  1. Derek Yu, 2013. "Youth unemployment in South Africa since 2000 revisited," Working Papers 04/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  2. Burns, Justine & Edwards, Lawrence & Pauw, Karl, 2010. "Wage subsidies to combat unemployment and poverty," IFPRI discussion papers 969, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Haroon Bhorat & Carlene van der Westhuizen & Toughedah Jacobs, 2009. "Income and Non-Income Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa: What are the Drivers and Possible Policy Interventions?," Working Papers 09138, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  4. Frederick C.v.N. Fourie, 2011. "The South African unemployment debate: three worlds, three discourses?," SALDRU Working Papers 63, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.


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