Johannesburg - The employment situation in SA is overwhelmingly desperate, economist Mike Schüssler said on Thursday.
He was speaking at the launch of trade union Uasa's ninth SA Employment Report in Johannesburg.
"There's been a lot of pussy-footing around in SA and a lot of investigation into the country's employment situation. Some institutions like universities have had a lot of nice things to say, but the fact is that over the last 10 years we haven't got anywhere - so that means that we've not listened to the studies or we haven't done much."
Schüssler added that employment growth in SA's formal non-agricultural sector added only 2% to employment numbers while overall employment - including agriculture, informal and domestic workers - grew just 4.5% over the last decade.
"This is just not satisfactory as we need to see 3% to 4% growth in employment numbers every year."
The number of people choosing not to take part in the economy grew by almost 25% while the population in the decade from September 2000 to March 2010 grew by 12.7% and the formally unemployed by 3.6%.
"This is worrisome and shows a huge cultural change," Schüssler said.
"In 10 years' time we'll have another 25% of the population saying they don't want to work and we must ask why."
Non-participation in the economy could be a result of discouragement - but it could also be that welfare cheques were "ruling the roost and people sometimes have no need to work".
said more South Africans received money from welfare than from employment, with
12.8 million people working - not all for money - and 13.8 million people
receiving welfare payments from the proceeds of five million taxpayers.
"I don't know of any other country in the world where the recipients of welfare are greater than the amount of people who work."