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Unemployment soars, hits highest rate since 2008

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Cape Town - Unemployment increased by 2.2 percentage points to 26.7% in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. This is the highest rate since 2008.

Employment levels declined in all industries, except community and social services and agriculture, which grew by 51 000 and 16 000, respectively. The biggest job losses were observed in trade (119 000) and manufacturing (100 000) and construction (77 000).

Pali Lehohla, statistician-general of Stats SA, said the unemployment rate was a far way off from the 2030 target set out in the National Development Plan (NDP) of 6%.

Responding to a question whether government is doing enough to address unemployment, Lehohla said: “No. It hasn’t, otherwise you would have seen the democratic dividend.

"Government will have done enough when you see a change in the unemployment trend. There is no indication of a turning point and the current economic climate is not helping.”

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