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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s unemployment rate fell for a second consecutive quarter despite widespread power cuts and devastating floods, StatsSA said Tuesday.

Between April and June, the jobless rate declined by 0.6 of a percentage point over the first quarter to 33.9 percent of the workforce, the official data agency said.

In the first quarter, unemployment fell to 34.5 after 35.3 percent at the end of 2021.

StatsSA said there was a net quarterly gain of 648,000 jobs, with the biggest increases in community and social services, trade, finance and construction.

Poverty, inequality and joblessness run high in South Africa, nearly three decades after the end of apartheid.

The country’s high unemployment rate has fuelled protests and anti-foreigner sentiment.

Women in particular struggle to find opportunities. Almost one in two working-age women are unemployed and listed as economically inactive compared to about one in three men, StatsSA said.

The female unemployment rate is also higher than the national average at 35.5 percent.

“The labour market continues to favour men and shows no signs of making real progress towards improving prospects for women,” the agency said in a statement.

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