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South Africa Added 59,000 Jobs in the Third Quarter, Agency Says

South Africa, which has the highest unemployment rate of 61 countries tracked by Bloomberg, added 59,000 non-farm jobs in the third quarter.

Employment in formal, non-agricultural industries rose 0.7 percent to 8.359 million from the second three months of the year, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said on its website today. The data is based on a survey of companies registered to pay taxes.

South Africa’s economic growth stalled in the third quarter, threatening a target to slash unemployment. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Oct. 25 cut the government’s forecast for growth to 3.1 percent in 2011 from a previous estimate of 3.4 percent, as the deepening debt crisis in Europe reduces demand for exports. The region purchases about a third of South Africa’s manufactured goods.

The Reserve Bank has kept the benchmark rate at a 30-year low of 5.5 percent this year as it seeks to stimulate the economy. South Africa’s GDP grew 1.4 percent in the third quarter, little changed from an almost two-year low in the previous previous three months.

The government says gross domestic product needs to expand 7 percent annually to meet a target to cut unemployment to 14 percent by 2020 from 25 percent.

Employment rose 2.5 percent, or 204,000 jobs, in the third quarter from a year earlier, the statistics office said.

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