SOUTH African unemployment fell unexpectedly in the last quarter of last year‚ Statistics South Africa figures showed yesterday.
The jobless rate declined to 24.9% of the labour force in the fourth quarter from 25.5% in the previous quarter‚ StatsSA said in its quarterly labour force survey.
This amounted to 4.5-million people without work in the fourth quarter‚ down from 4.67-million jobless in the previous three months.
However Mike Schussler of Economists.co.za‚ said the decline in the unemployment rate merely showed a loss of hope. "More and more people are discouraged from even looking for work because they know there are no jobs‚" he said.
The expanded definition of unemployment‚ which includes people who have stopped looking for work‚ was at 35.9% in the fourth quarter‚ from 36.3% previously.
Craig Parker‚ economist at Frost & Sullivan‚ said the drop in unemployed was a positive result against the backdrop of labour unrest in the mining and agricultural sectors.
However‚ Shireen Darmalingam‚ economist at Standard Bank‚ said the decline was unexpected.
She said the detail was not encouraging as both the labour force and the number of employed had declined.
"Prospects for 2013 are not very encouraging as there could be further spillover effects from the mining sector to the manufacturing sector." – BDLive and Reuters