Stats SA says 4.6m people are unemployed

2013-05-06 13:03

The number of unemployed people increased by 100 000 to 4.6 million between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, Stats SA has said.

This took the country’s official unemployment to 25.2% from 24.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012, Stats SA said in its quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS) today.

The LFS is a household-based sample survey conducted by Stats SA and covers the labour market activities of people aged 15 to 64.

The number of discouraged work seekers increased by 73 000 to 2.3 million between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

Stats SA’s official definition of unemployment is someone aged between 15 and 64 who is without work in the week preceding the interview, but who looks for work and is available to take up employment or open a business.

In the expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, the rate was 36.7% in the first quarter of 2013, the highest since 2008.

The economy lost approximately 1 million jobs during the recession.

It had gained 646 000 jobs since the lowest level of employment in the third quarter of 2010 (12.9 million).

However, at 13.6 million, employment in the first quarter of 2013 was still lower than the 14 million before the recession.

Stats SA found that the proportion of people who were employed or looking for work (labour force participation rate) in the working-age population declined by 3.6 percentage points to 54.8% between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2013.

The proportion of employed people in the working-age population (absorption rate) decreased from 44.7% in the first quarter of 2008 to 41% in the first quarter of 2013.

The formal sector contracted by 0.3% (25 000 jobs) and the informal sectors by and 0.6% (13 000 jobs) between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

However, the formal sectors grew 0.8% and the informal sector 4.1% compared with a year ago.

The biggest contributor to the increase in employment was the agricultural sector, at 54 000 jobs, followed by the community and social services with 44 000.

The retail and wholesale trade sector lost 66 000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.