Unemployment rate increases slightly at 23.6%

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa's unemployment rate has increased slightly to 23.6 percent in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the 23.5 percent registered in the first quarter of this year, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) said on Tuesday.

StatsSA's Quarterly Labour Force Survey showed that the number of persons in the labour force decreased by 325 000 from 17.8 million in quarter one of 2009 to 17.5 million in the second April to June quarter.

According to the report, the number of jobs fell by 267 000 between the two quarters.

This did not translate to an increase in the number of unemployed people but rather pointed to the number of people who are not economically active, which was at 419 000.

Most of these losses were felt in private households at 105 000, trade at 59 000 and transport at 30 000. The formal sector accumulated 93 000 job losses.

"It is clear from the numbers... that the economy is not creating jobs. People are losing jobs in big numbers. The economy is not growing," said Stats SA Deputy Director General for Population and Social Statistics Kefiloe Masiteng.

She added that job losses were recorded in all industries, except community and social services.

"All industries have lost jobs with the highest losses in trade, manufacturing and agriculture, the main job gains were in social services especially from government and finance," said Ms Masiteng.

On a quarter to quarter basis the number of people employed in both the formal and informal sector decreased while the absorption rate of people into the labour market in quarter two also declined.

"It shows that is getting more and more difficult for people to get into the job market. There is a higher movement of people out of jobs compared to jobs created," explained Ms Masiteng.

Stats SA noted that discouraged job seekers who are described as those who have given up on finding work and not having jobs in the area they live in accounted for 302 000.

Statistician General, Pali Lehohla, said times were hard and people had given up looking for work.

Economist at Standard Bank Shirleen Darmalingan said the data released was not surprising.

"It shows that people are not finding solace in the informal sector after losing work in the formal sector," said Ms Darmalingam.

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