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Unemployment Remains a Major Concern for South Africa

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Jan. 18 2016, Updated 9:34 a.m. ET

South Africa’s high unemployment rate

Compared to emerging economies like India, China, and Russia, South Africa is a small country. Its population was reported to be ~54 million by mid-2015. Unemployment has been a serious concern for South Africa. The unemployment rate was as high as 25% in 2015. The high unemployment rate has been a serious issue in South Africa for several years now. It’s noteworthy that the average unemployment rate of OECD[1. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development] and BRICS[1. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa] equalled ~9%.

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Mining reported highest job loss

The chart above shows the breakup of the industry-wise employed workforce at the end of 3Q15. About 70% of the total labor force is employed in non-agricultural sectors (SSL).

The mining industry (AU) (GFI) witnessed the highest loss in jobs. There was a job loss of 4.2% on an annual basis in mining. Construction witnessed the second highest loss in jobs with a fall of 4%. The manufacturing industry had registered an impressive growth rate in production and sales in 3Q15. However, the growth in the industry couldn’t help in raising employment numbers and registered a job loss of 0.3%.

The industry comprised of financial, real estate, and business services was the only industry to register an upswing in employment numbers. It witnessed a growth of 1.5% on an annual basis in 2Q15. The upswing can be attributed to the consistent growth in the industry over the last two years. To see the growth pattern, please refer to Part 2 of this series.

In the next article, we’ll discuss inflation in South Africa with concluding words about the effect on Africa-focused funds’ (CAFRX) (NAFAX) prospects.

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