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Unemployment rate stagnant at 29.1% but it's not all 'doom and gloom'

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleka has released the quarterly labour force statistics.

FILE: Statistician General Risenga Maluleke. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Stats SA on Tuesday said South Africa's unemployment rate had remained stagnant at 29.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the quarter before.

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleka has released the quarterly labour force statistics.

They show there were 6.726 million people without jobs in the last three months of the year. The unchanged unemployment figure doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been any activity in the labour force.

Stats SA's Malerato Mosiane explained that the number of employed people increased this quarter by 45,000 and the number of unemployed people decreased by 8,000.

She said the increase in employed people was mainly driven by the community and social services, finance and transport while the shedding of jobs was mainly in the trade manufacturing and utility sectors.

“We have seen an increase in employment, especially in community and social services that gained 113,000 jobs and construction, which has been struggling in the past. This quarter we have seen an increase of 12,000 jobs.”

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, was 38.7%, which is slightly up from 38.5% in the previous quarter.