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Strikes blamed for job losses

Ongoing violent strikes in a number of sectors were to blame for the loss of 68,000 jobs.

The numerous industrial actions are responsible for the loss of 68,000 jobs, says Stats SA.

JOHANNESBURG - Ongoing violent strikes in a number of sectors were to blame for the loss of 68,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Statistics SA (Stats SA) released its quarterly labour force survey in Pretoria on Tuesday.

It found the biggest industry losers are trade and transport, which shed 41,000 and 18,000 jobs respectively.

The unemployment rate has however declined by 166,000 jobs in the same quarter.

Economist Izzah Jamien said, "The unfriendly labour market environment, created by the contagious strike activity, is permeating through the entire economy and leading to reluctance on the part of the employers to take on workers."

In 2011, truck drivers, miners and farmworkers took part in often violent strikes.

The survey also found that 48,000 jobs were lost in private households.

This supports the trend identified by the Institute of Race Relations, which found a decline in the number of domestic workers over the last 10 years.

Statistics SA's Kefiloe Masiteng said of the 4.5 million seeking working, more than half are 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."

Meanwhile, a Cape Town recruitment company advised job seekers not to throw in the towel after just a few attempts.

The Key Recruitment Group adds applicants often get discouraged if they do not get the first few vacancies they apply for.

The company's Allan Pike said finding a job is even more challenging in the current economic climate.

"It's a bit of a lottery. The more jobs you apply for, the more chances are going to be opened up to you.

They [people] are not going to get every job they apply for. If they are persistent and they keep applying, that door will open because there are jobs out there."