A waste picker in Johannesburg. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg.
JOHANNESBURG - Statistics South Africa today said that the number of employed persons decreased by 237 000 to 16,3 million in the first three months of this year, taking the unemployment rate to 27.6 percent from 27.1 percent in the last quarter of last year.

The stats agency said employment decreased in all four of the sectors in the first quarter of the year.

“The Formal sector recorded the largest employment losses of 126 000, followed by the Informal sector (68 000), Private households (31 000) and Agriculture (12 000),” StatsSA said.

“The number of discouraged work-seekers and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 156 000 and 169 000, respectively, between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, resulting in a net increase of 325 000 in the not economically active population.”

South Africa’s high unemployment rate will be one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s immediate task following his victory in last week’s national elections.










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