Despite a globally tough economic climate in the past five years, Mpumalanga has managed to increase job creation by 9.2%.
Tabling his State of the Province Address in Mbombela on Friday, Premier Mabuza said the average annual GDP growth between 2009 and 2012 was 2.4%, which he said was still below the 5% target.
"Through the Mpumalanga Growth and Development Path, the province set a target of approximately 70 000 to 80 000 jobs that must be created annually if we were to address the challenge of unemployment effectively.
"Job opportunities increased from 1 052 000 to 1 149 000, bringing the total number of jobs created since quarter one of 2009 to 97 000," Premier Mabuza said.
Premier Mabuza said the Growth and Development Path went as far as identifying the levers they would utilise to generate the desired number of jobs.
"Obviously, the low economic growth rate has a direct negative impact on the creation of more job opportunities in the economy," he said.
He said the employment opportunities in the province were mainly driven by the community services sector, which created approximately 52 000 jobs.
The finance sector added approximately 31 000 jobs, while utilities added 14 000, with an additional 23 000 jobs generated from mining.
Premier Mabuza said through the Expanded Public Works Programme, the province has also managed to create a total of 270 807 work opportunities between 2009 and 2013, particularly for the poor.
"As far as gearing the economy towards rapid economic growth is concerned, one must admit that we have fallen short in this area of work. In 2009, we aimed to grow the economy at a rate of 5% per annum. Unfortunately, this target was never realised due to the unprecedented world economic meltdown that started in 2008," he said.
Premier Mabuza added that the same 2008 year, Mpumalanga experienced a negative growth of -1.7%.
"However, in subsequent years, we saw the GDP growth of Mpumalanga showing some signs of improvement - but still performing below the expected economic growth rate," said Premier Mabuza.