The unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2010 increased 0,9 of a percentage point to 25,2%, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Tuesday.
The Pretoria-based agency was releasing the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2010.
The survey found that the total number of unemployed was 4,3-million for the first quarter of 2010.
Employment declined by 171 000 between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, with the formal sector losing 140 000 jobs and the informal sector shedding 100 000.
Agriculture created 35 000 jobs and private households 34 000 jobs, Stats SA said.
“Agricultural employment is showing signs of recovery after seven successive quarters of job losses,” said Stats SA spokesperson Kefiloe Masiteng.
She said the unemployment rate for the first quarter went up for all population groups except the Indian population.
In the first quarter, the biggest job losses were in finance, which shed 126 000 jobs, and construction, which shed 64 000.
She said almost all provinces lost jobs in the first quarter except the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal with most job losses in Limpopo and Gauteng.
The survey showed that the number of people in the labour force decreased by 25 000 between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010.
The number of unemployed people rose by 145 000, and the number of discouraged work seekers increased to 153 000.
According to Masiteng, unemployment was highest among those aged 15 to 24 and lowest among those aged 55 to 64.
“The youth unemployment rate and the unemployment rate for women is higher than the national average,” she said.
Turning to unemployment by province, Masiteng said the biggest change in unemployment levels was in the Eastern Cape (up 60 000 or 12%) and Mpumalanga (up 34 000 or 10,7 %).
In the first quarter of 2010, students made up most of the non-economically active group at 41%, followed by homemakers at 19,3%.
Discouraged work seekers made up 12,9% of this group, Masiteng said.
According to the survey, there was an annual decrease of 6,1% or 833 000 in employment in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the same quarter in 2009. There was also an increase of 126 000 in the number of unemployed.
The number of people not economically active rose by 1 071 000 annually, with 624 000 being discouraged work seekers.
Before the release of the survey, economists said a deterioration in the survey’s figures might be supportive of an interest rate cut.– Sapa