|6. May 2009
SA's Unemployment Rate Goes Up
South African's unemployment rate increased to 23.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009 from 21.9 percent recorded in the last quarter of 2008.
Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey which was released on Tuesday, says a total 208 000 South Africans lost their jobs between the last quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009.
Deputy Director General for Population and Social Statistics Kefiloe Masiteng said: "The trend looks negative. What we have seen in terms of unemployment itself is that it has increased.
"In the last quarter of 2008 unemployment was at about 21.9 and that has increased to 23.5 percent which does support the trend is negative in terms of the labour market."
The sectors which contribute to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have seen a downturn and employment statistics now support this.
Productivity in trade, construction, manufacturing and mining contributed to job losses from quarter to quarter, Ms Masiteng said.
She said year on year, there was hardly any movement in employment levels between the last quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. The levels of people employed remained at 13.6 million.
Despite this, the finance industry has made significant job gains at 89 000 in the first quarter.
"A significant number of jobs 72 000 in the finance sector were created in the business category," said Stats SA in the report.
The report also found that the unemployment rate increased in all provinces except in Limpopo, where the unemployment rate declined slightly from 28.9 percent to 28.1 percent.
Ms Masiteng said this was possibly a result of migration to bigger cities, the nature of employment in the rural province as well as migration from neighbouring countries into Limpopo.
She further said that the findings of the survey revealed that the economic outlook currently in the country was taking the same global downturn trend.
"What we are seeing is that many sectors are losing personnel, we are seeing that there are retrenchments. Manufacturing has declined, mining has also lost in terms of productivity," she explained.