South Africa’s unemployment rate drops

1 August 2012

South Africa’s unemployment rate dropped to 24.9% in the second quarter of 2012, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported in its latest quarterly labour force survey, released in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The unemployment rate fell by 0.3% from 25.2% in the first quarter of the year, and by 0.8% year-on-year from 25.7% in June 2011.

Stats SA deputy director-general Kefiloe Masiteng attributed the change to an increase in employment in the formal sector.

“Between the first and second quarters, formal sector employment increased by 62 000 jobs while informal sector employment decreased by 21 000 jobs,” Masiteng said in a statement.

“Employment in agriculture decreased by 18 000, while employment in private households remained virtually unchanged – it rose by 2 000 – in the same period.”

Compared to the same quarter last year, the number of employed South Africans in the formal sector increased by 4.1% or 373 000.

“The growth in formal sector jobs was mainly driven by the community and social services industry,” Masiteng said. It boasted the creation of 183 000 jobs.

Construction and mining also fared well, with 26 000 and 21 000 more people employed in each industry respectively.

Four of the country’s nine provinces also marked a drop in unemployment levels. “The biggest decrease in the unemployment rate was observed in Limpopo with 1.7 percentage points, Mpumalanga with 1.4 percentage points and KwaZulu-Natal with 0.7 of a percentage point,” Masiteng said.

Despite these improvements, there were still areas where improvement was needed.

“Approximately 4.5-million persons were looking for work in the second quarter of 2012, of which 3-million (or 67,8%) have been looking for work for a period of 1 year or longer,” she said.

Also of concern was the number of South African graduates without jobs. “Despite overall levels of unemployment declining year-on-year, the number of unemployed persons increased by 24 000 among those with tertiary education.”

SAinfo reporter