South Africa jobless rate tops 25%

AFP-JIJI

More than a quarter of South African workers are now out of work, official statistics showed on Monday.

Statistics SA said that 4.6 million South Africans were unemployed in the first quarter of the year, or 25.2 percent of the eligible population. That was up from 24.9 percent in the last quarter of 2012.

“The increase in the unemployment rate adds to other evidence that the local economy is struggling to pick up,” said economists at Nedbank.

Broader statistics paint an even bleaker picture of the country’s chronic unemployment, with nearly 37 percent of South Africans not working, because of age, health or economic reasons.

Of 50 million South Africans, there were also 2.3 million who are discouraged workers who have given up looking for a job and more than 12 million who are not economically active.