Unemployment rate eases to 25% in third quarter

Total number of unemployed people stood at 4,442-million in the three months to September, from 4,538-million in the second quarter

South Africa’s official unemployment rate eased to 25% of the labour force in the third quarter of this year, from 25,7% in the second quarter, a report showed on Tuesday.

In its latest quarterly Labour Force Survey, Statistics South Africa said the total number of unemployed people stood at 4,442-million in the three months to September, from 4,538-million in the second quarter.

Total employment grew 1,5% in the third quarter — the highest increase since 2009 — with trade and finance the main sectors that created jobs.

Mandla Maleka, economist at Eskom, said: “The number is still fairly elevated at 25% from 25,7%. Perhaps one can say that it is encouraging, but it does not really alleviate the problem itself.”

He added: “At 4,4-million people who are unemployed it is still very high, but it is encouraging that it came down by 0,7 percentage points.”

Employment in the formal sector had increased by 238000 jobs, while in the informal sector it had decreased by 53000 jobs. Employment in agriculture rose by 26000 jobs and fell by 19000 in private households.

There were 96000 fewer unemployed persons in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter, while the number of discouraged work seekers fell by 3000.

Compared with a year ago, employment increased by 343000, or 2,6%; unemployment rose by 46000, or 1%; the number of discouraged work seekers rose by 171000, or 8,4%; and the “other” sector (not economically active) fell by 78000, resulting in a net increase of 93000 among the overall category for those not economically active.

The expanded employment rate went down by 0.9 percentage points from 36,9% in the second quarter to 36% in the third.

The government has singled out unemployment as a major challenge for Africa’s biggest economy, after about a million jobs were lost in 2009 during the country’s first recession in nearly two decades.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma , speaking at a business breakfast, said the probability of another global economic downturn did not bode well for South Africa’s commitment to growing the economy and creating jobs.

Source: www.businessday.co.za

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