Stats SAFinancial Mail reports that SA’s sky-high unemployment rate moderated to 27.1% between the two final quarters of 2018, thanks mainly to a surge in formal sector employment over the festive season.  

However, the outcome is still worse than a year ago when the unemployment rate was 26.7% and, given the weak trends in investment and growth, joblessness is likely to keep rising.  Stats SA’s "Quarterly Labour Force Survey" (QLFS) for the fourth quarter of 2018 was released this week.  The economy created 149,000 jobs quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter.  Of these, 92,000 were created by the formal sector, following two consecutive quarters of contraction.  These gains were driven mainly by finance and business services (173,000 jobs), mining (32,000) and manufacturing (29,000).  Formal sector employment in all other industries declined.  Looking at annual rather than quarterly changes in employment, the latest numbers are dire.  Though the economy created 358,000 new jobs over the past year, 259,000 more people also became unemployed and roughly 300,000 more people became too disillusioned to look for work.  Equally frightening was that the percentage of people aged 15-24 who were not in employment, education or training as it climbed over the past year from 29.7% to 31.1%.

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