Unemployment figures up


File: Unemployed builders and painters from Zimbabwe wait on a roadside for work in Cape Town on 20 May 2015. The jobless rate increased to 26.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016. That's up from 24.5 percent in the last quarter of 2015.

JOHANNESBURG - The rate of unemployment increased by by 2.2 percent or 355,000 people in the first quarter of this year compared to the the last three months of 2015, Stats South Africa (Stats SA) said during the release of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey on Monday.

Stats SA said this resulted in an unemployment rate of 26.7 percent when combined with an increase in the number of unemployed persons of 521,000.

Stats SA also said the expanded unemployment rate, which includes those who were available to work but did not look for work in the reference period, also increased by 2.5 percentage points between the last quarter of 2015 and first quarter 2016 to 36.3 percent.

The survey showed that employment levels declined quarter-to-quarter in all industries except community and social services, and agriculture which grew by 51,000 and 16,000 respectively.

Community and social services grew both quarter-to-quarter and year-on-year while manufacturing declined both quarter-to-quarter (100,000) and year-on-year (141,000).

Despite the quarterly increase, Stats SA said employment in agriculture was still lower by 15,000 compared to a year ago.

The biggest job losses were observed in trade (119,000), manufacturing (100,000) and construction (77,000).

Stats SA said while employment declined quarter-to-quarter in these industries, employment levels increased on an annual basis in mining (30,000), construction (40,000), trade (115,000) and by 23,000 in finance and other business services.

* For more on this story, watch the video in the gallery above.