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South African Youth and the Labor Market

Published: 21 September 2022
 by  MDPI
 in Youth

Abstract: South Africa continues to be marked by high youth unemployment. This paper investigates youth labor market perspectives in northern South Africa in the light of data from the Livelihoods, Religion and Youth Survey. In addition to standard explanatory variabless of labor market outcomes, it explores whether the ‘soft’ factors of social capital and religion might contribute to youth’s labor market success. Methodologically, the study draws on descriptive statistics and the estimation of linear probability models. The results indicate that religious social capital goes along with improved labor market success, while there is no indication in the data that (non-religious) social capital or religiosity are positively correlated with labor market performance among the youth in the sample. The social capital created in religious communities seems to contribute to youth labor market success. Further research should investigate how these structures can serve as models for the improvement of government interventions aiming at improving youth labor market outcomes. Moreover, the results are in line with the findings of previous research on spatial mismatches in the labor market and highlight the need for job creation, particularly in rural areas.
Keywords: youth / labor market / unemployment / South Africa / religion / social capital

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