SA's unemployment rate hits 12-year high

By Drum Digital
26 May 2015

South Africa’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2015 was at its highest level since 2003, according to Statistics SA, which released its quarterly labour force survey in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Statistician-general Pali Lehohla said South Africa’s unemployment level increased to 26.4%, the highest level since 2003, when it hit 30%.

“It was stable at about 24% since 2003 and this spike is a new phenomenon,” he said.

“Unemployment figures always drop in the first quarter of the year because of the impact of the festive season and Christmas, but this result is below the usual dip,” said Kefiloe Masiteng, deputy director-general in charge of social statistics.

The results of the first quarter shows that the working age population was 35.8 million, which included 15.5 million employed, 5.5 million unemployed and 14.8 million not economically active.

“Thus resulting in an unemployment rate of 26.4%, absorption rate of 43.2% and labour force participation rate of 58.6%,” said Lehohla. Lehohla told Fin24 that the high unemployment numbers might not be the worst sign for South Africa. South Africa’s employment rate increased by 1.8% year-on-year (y/y) to 15.5 million people.


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