‘Drought played a huge role in shrinking employment numbers’

Stats SA figures show the number of employment has shrunk by 0.2 percent.

FILE: A farmer in the Free State stands next to a carcas of a cow that was lost in the drought. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says although the agricultural sector was not included in its results on the unemployment figures for the first quarter of this year, the recent drought has played a huge role in shrinking employment numbers.

Stats SA released the figures this afternoon, showing the number of people employed has shrunk by 0.2 percent equalling 15,000 jobs losses.

The mining sector has lost 4,000 jobs since the beginning of the year, but government and construction sectors have managed to retain jobs.

Statistician-General Pali Lehohla says the drought has been key in reducing employment numbers.

"Manufacturing, mining, retail trade, hotels and the like are the only areas where there has been improvement in employment."

LISTEN: Stats SA releases employment figures

At the same time, Stats SA says the majority of young people in the country are unemployed, with around five million unable to find jobs.

Lehohla says the majority of jobless people are black.

"If you look at the unemployment of those who are graduates, for blacks it is nine percent; for whites it's two percent and for Indians it's is about six percent. Certainly, 39 percent [of unemployed people] is largely skilled."