South Africa’s unemployment rate climbed to 25.2 percent in the first quarter as the retail, finance and construction industries shed jobs.
The jobless rate increased from 24.9 percent in the previous three months, Statistics South Africa said in a report released today in Johannesburg. The number of people without jobs rose by 100,000 to 4.6 million.
South Africa’s economy, the biggest on the continent, is struggling to create enough jobs to meet President Jacob Zuma’s goal of reducing the unemployment rate to 14 percent by 2020. Economic growth will probably reach 2.6 percent this year, less than half the 7 percent pace the government estimates it needs to meet its jobs pledge.
The Reserve Bank has refrained from lowering borrowing costs to spur job creation and promote borrowing as inflation remains near the top of its target of 3 percent to 6 percent. Credit demand increased at the slowest pace in about a year in March as consumer confidence waned.
The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of four economists was for the unemployment rate to reach 25.1 percent in the first quarter.
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