COVID-19 and the consequent economic effects have meant significant job losses for the people of South Africa. Many families have been affected, and our future generation (the youth) are affected both immediately and in the long run. The impact of COVID-19 on access to education has been significant and disproportionately affected learners in poorer households. This immediate effect will have long-term consequences, which, coupled with the direct employment effects of COVID-19, are concerning.

A snapshot of COVID-19 related unemployment in South Africa Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) published results from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the second quarter of 2020 (QLFS 2020 Q2) which largely capture the employment during the most stringent period of lockdown in South Africa. In addition, the National Income Dynamics Study’s Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM)* launched Wave 2 of its study focusing on the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19.


These datasets provide important information on the state of employment and welfare in South Africa as we navigate the global pandemic.  In this short article, we provide a snapshot of some of the metrics that we as economists frequently work with, set out systematically to explain the background to South Africa’s socioeconomic context, and where we are now or soon likely to be as a result of the COVID-19 downturn.

* Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey –

For further information please contact Linda Bertolissio or Riina Rintanen.