Unemployment numbers swell in first three months of 2017

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File: France's unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 9.7 percent in the third quarter after a significant mid-year drop.

File: France's unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 9.7 percent in the third quarter after a significant mid-year drop.

Photo_Web_Job_Search_171116

File: France's unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 9.7 percent in the third quarter after a significant mid-year drop.

File: France's unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 9.7 percent in the third quarter after a significant mid-year drop.

JOHANNESBURG - Forty-eight thousand jobs have been shed between the last quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of this year.

READ: Unemployment rate rises to 26,4%, says Stats SA

Even more worrying is that employment decreased by 58,000 between January and March, compared to the same period last year.

The biggest job losses were in trade, business and community services as well as manufacturing, but employment increased in construction and mining.

Gross earnings are also down more than 3 percent quarter on quarter.

READ: South Africa slips into recession as economy shrinks 

The statistics, released on Tuesday, are for the formal sector, and don't include agriculture.

South Africa recently slipped into a recession for the first time since 2009.

There have been three ratings downgrades since President Zuma's shock cabinet reshuffle three months ago.