Cape Town’s efforts to address unemployment have been successful, as the city has the lowest unemployment rate among South Africa’s metros. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis recognizes the progress made but acknowledges that there is still much to do to foster economic growth, lift people out of poverty, and create jobs.
Positive employment growth for four consecutive quarters
According to Stats SA’s Quarterly Workforce Survey (QLFS) from January to March 2023, Cape Town’s unemployment rate was 26%, based on the expanded definition, which is 0.9 percentage points lower than the previous quarter and four percentage points lower than Q1 2022. Notably, Cape Town has experienced positive employment growth for four consecutive quarters, with 40,000 more individuals joining the workforce during the first three months of 2023. This increase brings Cape Town’s labor force to 1.7 million people, surpassing pre-Covid levels and marking the highest employment rate since the QLFS report’s inception in 2008.
Mayor Hill-Lewis’s vision for Cape Town
Mayor Hill-Lewis has a vision of making Cape Town a symbol of hope and progress for South Africa and believes that the city’s decline can be reversed. He is encouraged by the decrease in unemployment despite the economic impact of record levels of loadshedding.
Investments to sustain economic momentum
To sustain economic momentum, Cape Town is making significant investments, including a R2.3 billion end loadshedding plan to protect the city from the first four stages of Eskom’s blackouts within three years. Additionally, a R43 billion investment is planned for vital basic services infrastructure to drive economic growth and job creation over the next three years. This investment is expected to create an estimated 135,000 jobs in the city over the same period.
Ease of Doing Business Index
Cape Town’s ambitious goal is to become the easiest place to do business in Africa. To achieve this goal, the city recently launched an Ease of Doing Business Index, which aims to reduce costs, time, and red tape associated with ten critical indicators for businesses, such as building plan approvals, basic service installations, and business licensing.
James Vos, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, emphasizes the importance of working closely with job-creating industries to help Capetonians access skills and job opportunities. These industries encompass a diverse range of sectors, including call centers, craft and design, technology, green energy, boat building, tourism, clothing manufacturing, and property development.
Investment Facilitation Branch
Cape Town’s Investment Facilitation Branch, established in 2017, has secured over R34 billion worth of new investments and thousands of jobs. Additionally, the city’s small business support measures assist entrepreneurs in accessing resources crucial for survival and growth.
A city of hope
Despite facing economic challenges, Cape Town remains determined to build a city of hope for all South Africans. Through persistent efforts to drive economic growth and create job opportunities, the city strives towards a brighter future, where its citizens are empowered to overcome adversity and thrive. Cape Town’s unemployment decline serves as a testament to the progress being achieved, as well as a reminder of the work that still lies ahead.