SA unemployment rate increases

South Africa’s official jobless rate increased to 24,5% of the labour force in the third quarter of 2009, from 23,6% in the second quarter, while the labour force fell sharply, a report showed on Thursday.

In its latest quarterly Labour Force Survey, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said the total number of unemployed people stood at 4,19-million in the three months to September.

Stats SA said the number of employed people fell by 484 000 to 12,89-million.

The rise in unemployment was exacerbated by a fall in employment, with 510 000 people either giving up looking for work or taking themselves out of the labour force completely—some opting to further their studies.

“These patterns suggest that there was a shift from employment into unemployment, discouragement and inactivity,” Stats SA said.

“They show the continued deterioration in the South African labour market ... job losses were widespread, affecting most industries.”

The manufacturing sector, one of the hardest-hit by a global downturn and domestic recession, shed 150 000 jobs—8% of total jobs for the industry—while wholesale and retail trade lost 110 000 jobs.

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes those people that have given up looking for work, climbed to 34,4% from 32,5%.—Reuters

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