South Africa’s unemployment rate hit a record high in the first quarter of this year as key sectors including agriculture shed jobs. The unemployment rate was up from 29.1 per cent in the final quarter of last year.
The outlook for the labour market remains gloomy, with some of the country’s big firms announcing plans to cut jobs. South Africa’s most advanced economy was already in recession before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, squeezing businesses and consumers.
Authorities imposed a strict lockdown at the end of March, which has further squeezed businesses and consumer incomes. There were 7.1 million people without jobs in the first quarter, up from 6.7 million in the previous quarter, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday.
Under the expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, the rate was 39.7 per cent compared with 38.7 per cent in the previous quarter.
Data Source: Reuters News Agency