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South Africa – Unemployment hits 25.2%

07 May 2013

Unemployment in South Africa rose in the first three months of the year and was in line with economists' expectations, according to official data published by Statistics South Africa. This showed that unemployment hit 25.2% in the quarter, up from 24.9% in the previous quarter.

But compared to a year ago, the joblessness rate remained unchanged with economists expecting unemployment to remain high. “The increase in the unemployment rate adds to other evidence that the local economy is struggling to pick up,” warned economists at Nedbank.

“The unemployment rate is likely to remain high in the short term as firms will remain cautious of expanding capacity and employing more people at the current challenging economic and labour environment.”

The data also shows that the number of people in employment rose to 13.62 million from 13.58 million in the previous quarter. Compared to a year ago, employment increased by +1,5%. This is despite the formal sector and the informal sector noting declines in employment while the agricultural sector posted growth.

According to the survey, the number of so-called ‘discouraged jobseekers’ rose. This includes people who wanted to work but did not actively look for jobs due to a lack of availability. Their number increased by 73,000 to 2.3-million in the quarter. 

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