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Stats SA: SA's economy is not growing

Stats SA released the latest GDP figures, which show the economy contracted by 1,3 percent this quarter.

FILE: Agriculture declined by 17,4 percent, manufacturing declined by 6,3 percent and the electricity sector shrunk by nearly three percent. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Stats SA says the country's economy has not grown since the beginning of the year and a worrying situation in the agriculture, manufacturing and mining industries, could jeopardise any prospect of achieving five percent GDP growth.

It released the latest quarterly GDP figures, which show that the economy contracted by 1,3 percent this quarter.

But the results show 1,2 percent growth compared to the same quarter last year and 6,1 percent increased growth compared to the first half of last year.

Statistician General Pali Lehohla says it's time to reassess what's required to achieve the five percent growth envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP).

"It is in the real economy that growth actually, quarter on quarter, is negative. And of course, at the moment the super-cycle of minerals has died. Those who set these targets have to sit up straight and say 'what are we going to do?'"

He says stronger policy interventions are needed from the state.

"I think the policy space has to be much more thorough, much more informed and much more comprehensive in understanding what these dynamics are."

Agriculture declined by 17,4 percent, manufacturing declined by 6,3 percent and the electricity sector shrunk by nearly three percent.

Meanwhile, Stats SA is warning that government and the private sector will find it much harder to create jobs as the manufacturing industry and the economy contracts.

Lehohla says while there is general concern about the negative growth, they are particularly concerned about manufacturing.

"The real economy has not performed that well, including construction, which in terms of jobs has always been a job creator."

Deputy Director at Stats SA Joe de Beer explains what the contraction means.

"If the economy is getting smaller, it means it is much more difficult to create jobs for people to work because there a fewer opportunities in the economy."

Trade union solidarity has estimated that 60,000 jobs will be lost across different sectors this year.

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