South Africa now has 7.2 million unemployed people – and rising

South Africa’s official unemployment rate rose to a new high in the first quarter, an unwelcome record for an economy recovering from its biggest contraction in a century.

The jobless rate rose to 32.6% from 32.5% in the three months through December, Statistics South Africa said Tuesday in a report released in the capital, Pretoria. The median of six economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was 33.5%.

Unemployment according to the expanded definition, which includes people who were available for work but not looking for a job, rose to 43.2% from 42.6% the previous quarter. That was as the number of discouraged work seekers surged by 201,000 people in the quarter.

Key Points:

  • The number of unemployed people rose by 8,000 to 7.2 million and the employed fell by 28,000 to 15 million.
  • Manufacturing added 7,000 jobs.
  • Mining added 12,000 jobs.
  • Agriculture lost 18,000 jobs.
  • Construction lost 87,000 jobs.
  • Trade industry lost 84,000.
  • Transport lost 40,000 jobs.
  • Finance industry added 215,000 jobs.
  • Community, social services added 16,000 jobs.

Now read: Don’t be fooled by the latest unemployment rate – Here is the truth

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South Africa now has 7.2 million unemployed people – and rising