JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's official unemployment numbers as announced by the national statistics agency this week, although alarming, still paint a rosier picture than the reality many people experience, labour union Solidarity said on Thursday.
The jobless rate rose to 29 percent of the labour force in the second quarter of 2019 from 27.6 percent in the first three months of the year, the highest since a quarterly labour force survey was introduced in 2008, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday.
But unemployment was even higher at 38.5 percent when using the expanded definition which includes people discouraged from actively looking for work.
On Thursday, Morné Malan, a senior researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute, said although the use of the narrow definition of unemployment was common practice around the world and recommended by the International Labour Organisation, this measurement was inaccurate for South Africa's labour force.
"South Africa has an exceptionally large gap between the narrow definition of the unemployment rate and the expanded definition (and) we have a particularly low labour absorption rate (42.4 percent)," Malan said.