- "This is the highest unemployment rate recorded since the start of the (Quarterly Labour Force Survey) in 2008."
PRETORIA: South Africa's jobless rate rose to 30.8 percent between July and September, the highest level since 2008, according to government figures released Thursday.
The increase is largely attributed to months-long anti-coronavirus restrictions that battered Africa's most industrialised economy.
"In the 3rd quarter of 2020 there were significant movements in the South African labour market... which resulted in a significant increase of 7.5 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 30.8%," the national statistics agency StatsSA said.
"This is the highest unemployment rate recorded since the start of the (Quarterly Labour Force Survey) in 2008."
StatsSA said the recorded number of unemployed during the third quarter was 2.2 million higher than in April-June, bringing the total to 6.5 million.
Young people have been particularly badly hit.
Unemployment rate increased by nine percentage points among people aged 15-24, who accounted for nearly two-thirds of the extra jobless.
The expanded definition of unemployment -- people who are employable but have stopped looking for work -- also rose by 1.1 percentage points to 43.1 percent.
South Africa imposed a strict lockdown on March 27 to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
While most measures have gradually been eased, restrictions on movement braked economic activity, pushing the country deeper into recession.