South African Unemployment Near 15-Year High as Factories Cut Jobs

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s jobless rate stayed near a 15-year high in the second quarter as factories shed jobs.

The unemployment rate was 27.2 percent compared with 26.7 percent in the previous three months, Statistics South Africa said in a report released on Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria.

The manufacturing industry lost the most jobs in the quarter, employing 105,000 less people than in the first three months of the year. Community and social-services, which includes the government, shed 93,000.

South African Unemployment Near 15-Year High as Factories Cut Jobs

Africa’s most-industrialized economy is struggling to create jobs as it hasn’t expanded at more than 2 percent since 2013. For the past two years, more than one in four people in the workforce has been unemployed. Per-capita economic growth has turned negative, and South Africa has the highest income inequality among nations measured by the International Monetary Fund, the Washington-based lender said Monday.

In his previous role as deputy leader of the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa helped initiate talks with the private sector on a jobs program and in March the country announced a Youth Employment Services pact that will offer 1 million young people paid internships over the next three years.

The number of people employed declined by 90,000 to 16.29 million, while those without jobs rose 102,000 to 6.08 million.

Here are some highlights from the statement:

  • Mining gained 38,000 jobs
  • The construction industry employed 45,000 more
  • Trade lost 57,000 jobs
  • Transport gained 54,000

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