South Africa's unemployment at 24.9%

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pretoria - There has been a slight increase in South Africa's unemployment rate, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Thursday.

There was a 0.9 percent increase in South Africa's unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2009 to 24.9 percent compared to the 23.6 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

The survey further showed that employment contracted by 3.6 percent, which translates into 484 000 jobs in the third quarter.

Manufacturing and wholesale industries recorded the most job losses at 8 and 3.7 percent respectively. Of the total amount of 484 000 jobs lost, 283 000 were in the formal sector excluding agriculture.

The number of discouraged job seekers in the country increased by 7.6 percent or 115000.

Stats SA's Deputy Director General Kefiloe Masiteng said these patterns suggested that there was a shift from employment into unemployment, discouragement and inactivity.

"More people have become more inactive," she said, adding that the figures showed continued deteriorisation in the labour market.

Employment across all nine provinces was down except in KwaZulu-Natal where it remained virtually unchanged. The Gauteng province observed the highest job losses at 234 000.

The absorption rate of people into jobs went down by 1.7 percent while the labour force participation rate went down by 1.5 percent.

The number of people employed in the formal sector went down by 283 000 and in the informal sector by 116 000. Year-on-year there were 770 000 job losses.

The formal sector accounted for 70.4 percent of total employment, the informal sector 15.5 percent and private households accounted for 9 percent while agriculture accounted for 5.1 percent.

The unemployment rate was highest among 15 to 24-year olds at 48.4 percent and lowest among those between 55-64-year-olds at 6.8 percent. Of the country's 49.3 million people in the country, 31172000 are aged between 15 and 24.-