About 15.7-million work, 5.7-million don't, but the numbers depend on the definition of employment.
Between the second quarters of 2014 and 2015, union membership in South Africa decreased by 17 000 members.
Unemployment levels fell in the second quarter, largely on informal sector job creation, but the number of discouraged job seekers rose.
Cosatu says the crisis caused by load-shedding is sure to slow down the rate of new investment, essential for job creation.
The unemployment rate in South Africa has risen to 25.5% – the worst rate of joblessness seen since the first labour force survey in 2008.
Overall unemployment has increased to 25.2% in the first quarter of this year, according to a Stats SA report.
The unemployment rate fell to 24.1% or 50 000 according to Statistics South Africa data released on Tuesday.
South Africa lost 28 000 nonagricultural jobs in the second quarter of the year despite economic growth.
SA food and goods wholesaler Massmart says sales growth has decreased during the first half of the year amid a downturn in consumer spending.
Shoprite has reported profit that matched estimates as growing pressure on consumers' disposable income held back sales in its domestic market.
Reverend Barney Pityana has taken a swipe at President Jacob Zuma and blamed South Africans for electing leaders without vision and basic competence.
Recruitment group Adcorp says South Africa faces a real prospect of a jobs recession as employment numbers fell for the third month.
A rise in Spanish unemployment has added to the woes of PM Mariano Rajoy as he tried to fight off a bailout of the eurozone's fourth largest economy.
Economist Chris Hart says the South African economy faces a major problem with its escalating levels of unemployment.
The latest Adcorp figures shows job losses in June have amounted to 31 781, bringing the total job losses for the past two months to 85 520.
The Occupy movement continues to spread, amid growing outrage at the "1%" of people whose wealth allows them to dominate the world.
The economy has shed 75 000 jobs in the first quarter of the year, according to Stats SA.
Employment in the formal non-agricultural sector grew slightly between the third and fourth quarters of last year, says Statistics SA.
At a time when job creation is the focus of economic policy, a colossal fight is brewing over the reliability of employment statistics in SA.