South Africa's unemployment rate dropped to a lower-than-expected 24.3% in the fourth quarter of 2014 from 25.4% in the preceding quarter, Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey showed. In Q4 2013, the country’s jobless rate was 24.1%.
A Reuters poll of economists had forecast the jobless rate to tick up to 25.5%.
A total of 4.909mn South Africans were unemployed in Q4, compared to 5.151mn in Q3 and 4.83mn in Q3 2013.
At the same time, the number of employed people increased by 203,000 q/q and by 143,000 y/y to 15.32mn in Q4.
The labour force equalled 20.228mn in Q4, down by 39,000 q/q, but up by 221,000 y/y. At the same time, the number of not economically active people increased by 194,000 q/q and by 400,000 y/y to 15.415mn.
The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, declined to 34.6% in Q4 from 35.8% in Q3, but was above the year ago level of 34%.
The high unemployment is one of the major problems for Africa’s best developed economy and presents a major risk to the stability of the financial system, as well as to the economy’s future growth.
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