Unemployment rates have been on everyone’s minds here in the US given the current economic climate.  However, compare the December 2011 rate of 8.5% to South Africa’s improved rate of 23.9% in the fourth quarter of 2011.  I think this really puts the challenges South Africa face into perspective.

“Job creation is not happening in abundance or at the rate that could ever hope to materially dent unemployment. We are tinkering in decimal points whereas the substance of unemployment is not really being resolved at all. This economy is not geared to creating jobs because the environment is too hostile for small business.”- Chris Hart, Chief Economist, Investment Solutions

My research doesn’t focus on South Africa unemployment specifically, but it’s always a control variable I include.  Unemployment levels plays an important role in understanding how local governments function.  It is difficult to generate revenue & to provide services if a significant proportion of the constituents are unemployed and unable to pay for services.  But what other effects do unemployment have?  How can we alleviate both the unemployment itself and the negative consequences of this high level?  Is unemployment a variable that political scientists should pay more attention to or is it best left to the economists?



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