A worker standing on scaffolding at a building site talks on his cellphone. The first quarter’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey will be released on Tuesday. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 26.7 percent of the labour force in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the last quarter of 2017, the statistics office said on Tuesday.

In its quarterly labour force survey which polls households, Statistics South Africa said there were 6.0 million people without jobs in the three months to the end of March, compared with 5.9 million people in the final three months of last year.

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 36.7 percent in the first quarter from 36.3 percent in the previous quarter.

In its household-based quarterly labour force survey (QLFS), Statistics South Africa said the working-age population increased by 153,000 or 0.4 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous three months. The rise in both employment, which was up by 206,000 and unemployment which rose by 100,000 over the quarter led to a rise in labour force participation rate from 58.8 percent to 59.3 percent.

The QLFS collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years and older who live in South Africa. Tuesday's report focused on the labour market activities of persons aged 15–64 years.

Stats SA said employment gains were recorded in the formal sector (111,000), informal sector (93,000) and private households (5,000), while agriculture recorded job losses of 3,000) in the first quarter.

The number of discouraged work-seekers increased by 249,000 while the number of other not economically active persons decreased by 403,000.

- REUTERS / ANA (African News Agency)