Jobs up by 193 000 in SA

2011-11-02 00:00

The number of employed people in South Africa reached a 21-month-high at over 13,31 million. However, the figure is still a far cry from the 13,84 million people employed in the fourth quarter of 2008.

About two-thirds of the employment creation gains came from opportunities in the trade and finance sectors, although the transport and utilities sectors shed 21 000 and 20 000 jobs respectively.

KZN created 10 000 jobs in the quarter, while Limpopo recorded a gain of 90 000 and Free State recorded a gain of 54 000 jobs.

Job creation in KZN was fuelled by the growth in employment in trade (50 000), finance (13 000), mining (10 000) and manufacturing (3 000).

However, the transport sector in the province shed 25 000 jobs while the community and social services sector shed 23 000 jobs.

KZN’s unemployment rate is now down to 19,1% compared with 20,3% in the previous quarter.

A total of 2,51 million people are employed in KZN compared with 2,4 million people in the third quarter of 2010. There were 45 000 fewer unemployed people in the province, as this figure now amounts to 593 000. The number of discouraged job seekers in KZN declined by 55 000 to 549 000 people.

The positive data did little to change the view of economists that the economy remains weak. They contend that the job-generating capacity of the South African economy is questionable, given the scale of job creation required in the country.

“While this [data] is encouraging, economic growth is significantly lagging behind the seven percent expansion that is required to create five million new jobs by 2020 to reduce the unemployment rate to 14%,” said Standard Bank economist Shireen Darmalingam.

Nedbank’s Group Economic Unit added that weak employment creation is evident in several critical sectors, pointing to fragile economic conditions.

• kavith@witness.co.za

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