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South Africa's Jobless Rate Declines From a 14-Year High

Updated on
  • Unemployment rate declines to 26.7 percent in period
  • Jobs added in the community, social-services industries

A Volkswagen AG plant in Uitenhage, South Africa.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa’s jobless rate eased from a 14-year high in the fourth quarter as an increase in community and social-services positions countered the decline in finance-industry jobs.

The unemployment rate was 26.7 percent in the three months through Dec. 31, Statistics South Africa said in a report released on Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria. The median of five economists’ estimates was for 27.2 percent.

Africa’s most-industrialized economy has struggled to expand its workforce as the nation mounted a weak recovery from its second recession in almost a decade. More than one in four people in the workforce have been unemployed in South Africa for the past two years.

Here are some highlights from the statement:

  • The community and social-services sectors, which include the government, added 75,000 positions
  • The manufacturing industry employed 42,000 more people in the period
  • Agriculture added 39,000 jobs
  • The finance industry lost 91,000 positions in the period
  • The number of people employed declined by 21,000 to 16.17 million, while those without jobs fell 330,000 to 5.88 million

— With assistance by Simbarashe Gumbo

(Updates with sectoral performances in bullets.)
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