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Thursday, August 28, 2008

South African Unemployment Down To 22% in Q2 2008

South Africa's unemployment rate fell to 23.1 percent in the second quarter as economic growth rebounded from a six-year low. The jobless rate dropped from 23.5 percent in the first three months of the year, according to the latest data from the Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa. The number of people out of work declined to 4.11 million from 4.19 million.

Africa's biggest economy expanded an annualized 4.9 percent in the second quarter, up from 2.1 percent in the previous three months, as a power shortage that shut gold and platinum mines in January eased. Employment in mining rose 3.9 percent to 346,000 in the second quarter from the previous three months, while jobs in the transport industry increased 3.6 percent to 774,000. The trade industry, the biggest employer in the economy, lost 51,000 jobs, or 1.6 percent, to 3.1 million.

South Africa's economy hasn't increased jobs at a fast enough pace to slash unemployment, fueling poverty and crime in the country. A shortage of skilled workers, such as engineers, is also hampering the government's goal to cut the unemployment rate to 14 percent by 2014 and halve poverty.

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