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World

South Africa jobless rate soars as pandemic bites

  • Unemployment rates in South Africa have stood at over 20 percent for at least two decades
Updated 24 Aug 2021

JOHANNESBURG: Unemployment in South Africa soared to its highest level in 13 years in the second quarter of this year -- with more than one in three of the working population looking for a job in the continent's most industrialised economy -- as coronavirus restrictions shackle growth, official data showed on Tuesday.

The jobless rate -- which measures the total number of people out of work against the working population as a whole -- rose to 34.4 percent in the April-June period from 32.6 percent in the preceding three months, Statistics South Africa said in a statement.

That was the highest level since the agency began compiling quarterly unemployment data in 2008.

In concrete terms, the total number of people out of work in South Africa increased by 584,000 to 7.8 million in the second quarter, the statisticians calculated.

The country has an overall population of 59 million.

S. Africa's jobless rate hits new high

Most of the job losses were recorded in the financial, service and industrial sectors.

Black women were hit hardest, too, with their jobless rate standing at 41 percent, compared with just 8.2 percent for white women, the statistics office said.

Overall, the proportion of women out of work is higher than men, standing at 36.8 percent and 32.4 percent respectively.

South Africa is the country that has been hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa.

Already in recession before the global outbreak, its economy shrank by seven percent last year.

Unemployment rates in South Africa have stood at over 20 percent for at least two decades.

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