Just a small portion (8.6%) of the Ngqushwa population is formally employed with 91.4% of the population unemployed or not economically active. The official figure of unemployment in the municipality stands at 77%. This tallies to some extent with the population distribution and indicates that most of those who are employed live either in Peddie or Hamburg. The employment levels are way below the national average and the unemployment levels are 24% above the Provincial unemployment figures. The number of people living in poverty in the municipality has risen from 64.19% in 1996 to 80.29% in 2005. Consequently, there is a high dependence on social grants with seventy-two point five percent 72.5% of households receiving grants.
Furthermore, this also means that the rates base for the local municipality is almost non-existent. As a result, the municipality is almost completely dependent on provincial and national government for funding to support the provision of basic services. There is a desperate need for local economic development in the municipal area that will create permanent jobs for the local population.
Source: Ngqushwa Local Municipality IDP 2013/14