South Africa’s Q2 unemployment rate increases to record high

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Seasonal farm labourers pick tomatoes on a farm in the Boland region of the Cape Province. These tomatoes were destined to go to a canning factory to be made into tinned tomatoes. These workers are part of the so-called coloured or mixed race community in South Africa who often feel left out of the political process in the country. | Location: Mcgregor, South Africa. (Photo by Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images)

South Africa’s unemployment rate increased to 34.4 percent from 32.6 percent in the second quarter of 2021, data released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) revealed on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Seasonal farm labourers pick tomatoes on a farm in the Boland region of the Cape Province. /Getty Images

This was the country’s highest joblessness rate since the first quarter of 2008.

Releasing the report, Statistician General Risenga Maluleke said unemployment went up by 584,000 to 7,8 million when compared to the first quarter of this year. The expanded definition of unemployment rose by 1.2 percent to 44.4 percent compared to the first quarter.

The expanded definition includes people who have given job hunting. Maluleke said the number of discouraged work-seekers increased by 5.9 percent after the number rose by 186,000.

Prof. Jannie Rossouw, head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, said while these results were “shocking”.

“We need a higher gross domestic product to grow to create jobs,” he told Xinhua.

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