Pretoria - The official unemployment rate in South Africa
rose to 25.5% of the labour force in the third quarter of this year from 24.9%
in the second quarter, a survey showed on Thursday.
In its latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey, Statistics
South Africa said the total number of unemployed people stood at 4.67 million
in the three months up to September - the highest total since records started
in 2008 - from 4.47 million in the second quarter.
The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes
people who have stopped looking for work, increased to 36.3% from 36.2%
The agency attributed the rise to job losses in domestic
households and the mining sector, which has been under pressure from a wave of
Meganomics economist Colen Garrow said: “I’m not surprised
that the number is higher and parts of the sectors in the economy are
struggling. Mining and manufacturing are going to be shedding jobs even more as
the economy slows down and the impact of the strike action takes effect.
“It’s amongst the highest unemployment rates globally and
highlights quite strongly that we need to be taking some corrective action.”
Said Johannes Khosa, Nedbank economist: “It’s worrying that
the unemployment rate is rising again.
“It doesn’t paint a good picture for the months ahead in
terms of consumer spending.”
The rand was at R8.666 against the dollar at 08:22 GMT, from
R8.699 before the data was released at 08:00 GMT.
The yield on the 2015 bond dipped to 5.485% from 5.49 prior
to the release while that on the 2026 issue eased to 7.705% from 7.73%.
South Africa’s jobless rate has been stuck at around 25% for
years, and did not dip appreciably even when the economy was growing strongly
in the years leading up to a 2008/09 recession.
The ANC has made employment a top priority, and unveiled a
big infrastructure development plan in February that it said should create
millions of jobs.
With over 13 million people unemployed out of a population
of about 52 million, economic growth will be hard-pressed to gain momentum as
fewer consumers are able to drive growth.
However, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has said the
economy needs sustained growth of 7% a year - nearly three times the 2.5%
forecast for 2012 - to make a dent in unemployment.
Government is proposing changes to labour laws that are
intended to increase job security for temporary workers but economists say this
will worsen unemployment as it ramps up costs for employers.