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Job Search and the Measurement of Unemployment in South Africa

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  • Dorrit Posel
  • Daniela Casale
  • Claire Vermaak

Abstract

We interrogate the distinction between searching and non-searching unemployment in South Africa using data from the first national panel survey that tracks the individual. In particular, we test whether the non-searching unemployed display a weaker commitment to the labour market than the searching unemployed, and we investigate what counts as search activity. We find that over the panel, the search status of the unemployed does not predict their subsequent employment status, a result that is robust also for subsamples that vary by age cohort, gender and location. Moreover, social networks are the most important job-finding strategy of the employed. These findings challenge the exclusion of the non-searching unemployed from the measure of “genuine” work seekers.

Suggested Citation

  • Dorrit Posel & Daniela Casale & Claire Vermaak, 2014. "Job Search and the Measurement of Unemployment in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 82(1), pages 66-80, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:82:y:2014:i:1:p:66-80
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/saje.12035
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Nic Baigrie & Katherine Eyal, 2014. "An Evaluation of the Determinants and Implications of Panel Attrition in the National Income Dynamics Survey (2008-2010)," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 82(1), pages 39-65, March.
    9. Sher Verick, 2012. "Giving up Job Search during a Recession: The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on the South African Labour Market-super- †," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 21(3), pages 373-408, June.
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