Pretoria — South Africa's unemployment rate had increased from 24.9% to 25.5% in the third quarter of 2012, said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Thursday.
Releasing the third Quarter Labour Force Survey (QLFS) on Thursday, Stats SA said the number of unemployed persons, at 4.6 million in the third quarter of 2012, was the highest level since the QLFS commenced in 2008.
"The number of unemployed persons rose to 4.5 million in the first quarter of 2012, but declined by 56 000 persons between the first and second quarter of 2012, while there was an increase of 197 000 between the second quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2012," Stats SA said.
The agency attributed the rise to job losses in domestic households and the mining sector, which has been under pressure from a wave of wildcat strikes.
Stats SA said the labour force had increased by 397 000 persons between the second quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2012.
"This increase was reflected in an increase in the number of both employed persons (198 000) and unemployed persons (197 000)."
However, Stats SA said since 2008 there had been a rise in employment during the fourth quarter of every year, followed by a decline in the subsequent quarter.
"Employment in the informal sector increased by 112,000 while formal sector jobs increased by 92,000 and Agriculture by 23,000 in the third quarter," said the agency.
Driving the increase in employment was an increase in all sectors except private households.
Employment in the informal sector increased by 112 000, while formal sector jobs increased by 92 000 and agriculture by 23 000 in the third quarter of 2012. Employment in private households decreased by 29 000 (2.5%) in the third quarter of 2012.
The number of discouraged work-seekers declined by 141 000 between the second quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2012, while other (not economically active) declined by 140 000.
"Compared to a year ago, employment increased by 2.5% (327 000), unemployment increased by 5.1% (225 000), the number of discouraged work-seekers decreased by 1.5% (34 000) and other (not economically active) decreased by 0.4% (56 000) in the third quarter of 2012, resulting in a net decrease of 90 000 among the not economically active population," said Stats SA.
Recently there had been increasing interest in the challenges faced by young people in the labour market. Approximately a third of the youth aged 15-24 years were not in employment, education or training (NEET) in the third quarter of 2012, which indicates the vulnerability of this group. According to Stats SA in the third quarter of 2012, about 3.2 million of the youth were NEET.