Statistics SA said on Thursday job increases were recorded in the mining sector, while a fall was recorded in manufacturing.
Africa’s biggest economy is struggling to create jobs and reduce unemployment, which was 25.2% of the labour force in the first quarter.
Employment in the formal non-agricultural sector increased by about 5 000 to 8.384-million between December 2011 and March 2012, Stats SA said. Jobs were up 1.1% on a year-on-year basis.
The mining and quarrying industry reported a quarterly increase of 0.8% and an annual increase of 2.2%. But jobs in manufacturing, which accounts for about 15% of GDP, fell by 0.1% in quarter one compared with the previous three months and were down 0.3% year on year.
Turmoil in Europe, the main export market for manufactured goods, has hurt the sector.
South Africa lost a million jobs during a recession in 2009 and economic growth, seen at 2.7% this year, remains far below the 7% the government says is needed to significantly slash the unemployment rate.
South Africa’s labour force is far more expensive, yet less productive, than workers in emerging market rivals.
A close alliance between the ANC and unions has led to a raft of labour-friendly legislation that economists say is eroding the country’s competitiveness. – Reuters