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SA's unemployment rate down to 23%

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SA's unemployment rate down to 23%

by Bathandwa Mbola
28 Mar 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

South Africa's unemployment rate decreased to 23.0 percent in the third quarter of 2007 from 25.5 percent recorded at the same time a year ago.


This is a record low since the inception of the Labour Force Survey in 2001 according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Thursday.

The most recent Labour Force Survey data revealed that the total of number of employed South Africans in September last year was approximately 13.2 million which indicates a net gain of 433 000 jobs.

"The jobs growth rate adds up to a year-on-year gain of 3.4 percent, still off the 5.2 percent year-on-year GDP gains in the third quarter and highlighting a continuing jobless growth conundrum."

The data also shows that while the total labour force had dipped slightly to 17.18 million people from 17.19 million in the third quarter 2006, 13.2 million of those were employed.

Most jobs were seen in the formal sector (610 000) while the working age population (between 15 and 65) was recorded at 30.4 million from 30.0 million reported in September 2006.

Major contributing industries were private households, which refers mainly to domestic workers was up by 137 000 jobs while personal services added 132 000 jobs.

"The number of domestic workers rose to a record 1.06 million, 8 percent of the 13.23 million employed South Africans, in a trend that might stem from rapid growth in SA's black middle class."

The community and social services industry, the country's second biggest employer after retail trade accounted for 18.5 percent of jobs.

These include teachers, police and health workers as well as private workers such as beauticians.

According to the date, government's effort to empower women has showed results.

The female unemployment rate dropped to 26.7 percent in September from 30.7 percent in the same month the year before, showing women accounted for most of the net 433 000 rise in jobs.

Stats SA said the country's economic growth has been a driving force in job creation.

The construction sector has fuelled growth as government intensified spending on rail, power and stadiums in preparation for hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The pickup in job creation is positive; to meet government's official goal help cut poverty by halving unemployment by up to 14 percent in 2014.

The biggest decline in unemployment was seen in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal while the Western Cape showed the lowest improvement.

The survey is based on interviews with 30 000 households and includes people working in the formal and informal economies. - BuaNews

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System

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