South Africa unemployment rate ramps up 25.6 percent


PRETORIA: (By Steve Austen)– South Africa’s unemployment rate has soared  to 25.6% in the second quarter of 2013, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) made a stark revelations.

Briefing reporters at the release of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, Statistician General Pali Lehohla said a net gain of 100 000 jobs was seen in employment in the second quarter. This, however, was offset by a 122 000 increase in job-seekers.

“As a result, the unemployment rate increased by 0.4 of a percentage point to 25.6%,” said Stats SA. South Africa’s unemployment rate was 25.2% in the first quarter of the year, following a decline in the fourth quarter of 2012.

According to the report, there were 4.7 million people aged between 15 to 64 years that were out of work, while 13.7 million people aged between 15 and 64 were employed.

The formal and informal non-agricultural sectors showed growth of 1.1% and 1.4% respectively in the second quarter.

Construction, trade, finance and other business services were the biggest contributors to the 100 000 net gain in employment in the second quarter, with construction gaining 62 000 jobs and trade gaining 52 000. The gains in trade follow on five successive quarters of job losses.

Private households and agriculture lost jobs in the second quarter, while the number of discouraged work seekers increased by 35 000 after rising by 73 000 in the first quarter.

Deputy Director General for population and social statistics at Stats SA, Kefiloe Masiteng, said that when households were facing difficult times, elementary jobs were the first to go.

Lehohla said the results showed that having a tertiary qualification increased one’s chances of getting employment. This, as the unemployment rate among graduates was at 5.2%. For those who held a tertiary diploma or certificate, their unemployment rate was reportedly at 12.6%, while it was at 30.3% among those without grade 12.

Nedbank economists said the unemployment rate was likely to remain high in the short term, as companies were cautious of expanding capacity and employing more people in the current challenging economic and labour environment. “Employment is likely to be driven mainly by the public sector as it rolls out its infrastructure programme.

“The increase in the unemployment rate adds to other evidence that the local economy is struggling to pick up momentum. Although recent indicators showed that demand-driven inflation remains contained, risks to the inflation outlook are still on the upside. This, along with the poor economic growth outlook is likely to persuade the Reserve Bank to maintain its accommodative monetary policy stance well into 2014,” said Nedbank.

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