South Africa's unemployment rate increases to 32.9 pct in Q1

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JOHANNESBURG, May 14 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's unemployment rate rose to 32.9 percent in the first quarter of 2024, official data showed Tuesday.

In the first three months of this year, the official unemployment rate increased by 0.8 percentage points to 32.9 percent from 32.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the results released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

"The results of the Quarterly Labor Force Survey (QLFS) indicate that the number of employed persons increased by 22,000 to 16.7 million in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the fourth quarter of 2023," Risenga Maluleke, statistician-general of South Africa and head of Stats SA, told a media briefing in Pretoria, South Africa's administrative capital.

He further said that the number of people out of jobs surged by 330,000 to 8.2 million during the same quarter.

Maluleke explained that employment losses were mostly observed in the community and social services sector, which saw a decrease of 122,000 jobs. The sluggish construction sector recorded 106,000 job losses, followed by the finance sector with 50,000 and utilities with 17,000.

Stats SA also said the informal sector lost about 100,000 jobs in the first quarter of the year. Sectors that performed better and created employment included trade and transportation.

In reacting to the employment data, Wits University Professor Jannie Rossouw described the increase in joblessness as a "disaster," adding that a conducive environment should be created to enable job creation at a much faster level.

"One of those things is to get Eskom to produce electricity on a sustainable basis. We need to get the ports to work efficiently," he told Xinhua.

Rossouw went on to say that the government should make it much easier for small businesses to operate. "We have over-regulations that make small businesses struggle, and we need to deal with that to create jobs," he added.

Regarding provincial performance, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, and Northern Cape created jobs, while other provinces, especially Western Cape and North West, recorded job losses in the first quarter. Enditem

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