By SA News
South Africa’s unemployment rate decreased to 25% in the third quarter from 25.7% in the second quarter of 2011, said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) as it released its Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS).
In the third quarter, total employment rose by 193 000 in the quarter ended September, making it the highest increase seen since the 2009 recession.
“This is the first time that employment increases in the third quarter since 2008,” acting executive manager for household labour market statistics, Peter Buwembo, said on Tuesday.
The increase was due to growth in the formal sector. Year-on-year, the formal sector showed an increase of 343 000 jobs, with community and social services accounting for the biggest job gains, followed by finance and other business services and trade.
“The number was a bit of [a] surprise,” said Standard Bank economist Dr Johan Botha.
According to the QLFS, the informal sector remains turbulent quarter-on-quarter, contracting by 2.4% after it increased by 34 000 jobs in the second quarter.
Stats SA’s Deputy Director General for Population and Social Statistics, Kefiloe Masiteng, said although the country faces employment problems, there is hope.
According to the survey, there were employment increases in Limpopo (90 000), Free State (54 000) and Mpumalanga (27 000) in the third quarter, while job losses were noted in the Eastern Cape and North West.
However, the transport, utilities and private households sector lost 21 000, 20 000 and 19 000 jobs respectively over the third quarter.
Stats SA said although there was a decline in unemployment in the third quarter, 4.4 million people remain unemployed, while a little over three million have been unemployed for a year or more with 60.2% of those seeking work not having matric.
Unemployment was highest among youth (aged 15 to 34).
“The number of discouraged work seekers declined by 0.1 % over the quarter. The unemployment rate is likely to remain high, around the 25% level in the short term as prevailing poor economic conditions, both locally and globally, will discourage companies to expand operations and hire more workers,” said Nedbank economists.
“I think it’s a once off trend, I think we will have to wait another quarter. The level of economic activity has declined. This is a mild improvement in employment,” said Botha.