Youth unemployment is extremely high in South Africa, approximately double the national rate. While this is not uncommon internationally, it poses a special problem in South Africa where at least half of young school leavers are unlikely to find work before the age of 24. In many other countries, the youth unemployment problem sits on the margins and is not experienced by the majority. This poses very serious concerns in respect of social and economic integration.
Higher rates of economic growth will ultimately be the answer to this problem. If the SA economy were growing at 6% or 7% pa, this unemployment problem would visibly diminish. Over the past decade, youth from the age of 20 are just as likely to get work as other age groups. Those in the age group of 24 35 are more likely to get work than the average. The problem is that the actual quantum of job creation is simply too small. This rate of job creation is likely to slow from 2008 as a result of the global economic crisis, as well as a range of domestic problems such as electricity shortages.