South Africa’s Construction Sector Struggles Amid Rising Unemployment, with Significant Job Losses in First Quarter of 2024

In the first quarter of 2024, South Africa’s unemployment rate increased to 32.9 percent, with the construction sector seeing a significant downturn. The labor force in construction dropped by 8 percent from the previous quarter, resulting in an annual growth of only 1.2 percent. Limpopo experienced the most severe job losses, with 57,000 positions lost, reverting to its early 2023 levels. Although the Western Cape managed to increase its construction workforce by 40 percent year-on-year, it was an exception in an otherwise struggling sector. The industry’s decline reflects broader economic challenges including high lending rates, weak growth, and political uncertainty, which have heavily impacted the construction market, particularly in the private sector.

Click here to download 2024Q1 provincial data