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SA loses 68,000 jobs - Stats SA

The economy shed 68,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Stats SA.

The economy shed 68,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Stats SA.

PRETORIA - The South African economy shed 68,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2012.

It was the first time since 2008 that a decline was experienced during this period.

On Tuesday, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released its quarterly labour force survey in Pretoria.

However, South Africa's overall unemployment rate declined by 166,000 jobs over the same period.

Stats SA Deputy Director-General for Population and Statistics Kefiloe Masiteng said their data showed the country always experienced an increase in the number of jobs in the fourth quarter.

"The formal sector has lost 52,000 jobs, while private households have lost about 48,000 jobs. At least 8,000 jobs were created in the informal sector and the agricultural sector has created 24,000 jobs."

She said of the 4.5 million seeking work, more than half were poorly-educated.

"Even if jobs can be created, you'll have a labour force which is filled with unskilled people. You have more than 60 percent of those people who are looking for work but they don't have matric."

LOOMING JOB CUTS

The agriculture sector has warned of possible job losses following the new wage minimum for farmworkers.

On Monday, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced a R105 daily minimum wage for workers, up from R69.

The announcement comes weeks after violent demonstrations rocked the Western Cape.

At least three people were killed in the protests.

On Tuesday, the Agricultural Business Chamber said job losses are inevitable following the minimum wage increase.

The chamber's John Purchase said the new wage is going to place added pressure on farmers, who are already under strain due to among other things, ever-increasing electricity prices.

He said this extra strain could lead to job losses.

"We recognise the need for an increase, but increasing it by over 50 percent is certainly going to have an impact on agriculture."

He said seasonal labourers are most at risk.

The new national wage has received a lukewarm response from trade unions and non-governmental organisations.

Women on Farms' Collete Solomon said while the hike is necessary, it is still not enough.

"R105 definitely falls far short of a living wage."

Striking farmworkers were demanding a R150 daily wage.