Johannesburg – The number of people without gainful
employment dropped 92 000 in the last quarter of 2016.
As a consequence, Statistics SA says in a statement
released on Tuesday, the unemployment rate is now 26.5 percent, which
represents a 0.6 percentage point decline.
In the third quarter, South Africa's unemployment rose to
its highest in 13 years, with manufacturing, mining and agriculture sectors all
In its Tuesday statement, the statistics agency noted the
working age population grew by 155 000 people, or 0.4 percent, and the
labour force by 143 000. Unemployment was 27.1 percent in the third quarter.
South Africans can legally start working at 15.
Read also: SA's
unemployment at highest since 2003
However, the stats agency said, the “not economically
active population” increased by 12 000, of which 1 000 were discouraged
Stats SA only counts people who are actively out of work
and seeking work as unemployed.
It notes employment rose in all sectors; formal sector
employment increased by 127 000 while informal sector employment increased by
Employment in agriculture, which was hard hit by last
year’s drought – the worst in recorded history, gained 38 000, while private
household agriculture employment gained 17 000 jobs.
Year-on-year, employment increased by 51 000 or 0.3 percent
while unemployment grew by 588 000 or 11.3 percent.
This led to an increase in the unemployment rate by 2
percentage points to 26.5 percent.
Despite the quarterly growth, the inactive population in the
last quarter declined by 6 000 year-on-year, which mainly observed in the not
economically active population.
The quarterly employment gains of 235 000 in the quarter
were driven by increases in eight of the ten industries, and included community
and social services, transport, manufacturing and agriculture.
Mining and construction shed jobs.