South Africa’s unemployment rate dipped slightly to 26.6 percent of the labour force in the second quarter of the year from a record 26.7 percent in the first quarter, data from the statistics office showed on Thursday.
In its quarterly labour force survey which polls households, Statistics South Africa said this amounted to 5.634 million people without jobs in the second quarter compared with 5.723 million previously.
The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, ticked up to 36.4 percent in the second quarter, from 36.3 percent in the first three months of 2016.
“Indications are that we are in a quite difficult economic situation,” said Statistician-General Pali Lehohla. “There are a huge number of job losses.”
Africa’s most sophisticated economy is teetering on the brink of recession after contracting 1.2 percent in the first quarter as manufacturing and mining sectors shrunk rapidly.
The central bank said last week it expected zero percent growth in 2016.
The largest quarterly employment losses were seen in the services, agriculture and transport sectors, Stats SA said.
The agency said 127,000 jobs were shed in the public administration and social services, while 44,000 jobs were shed in agriculture due to a decline in the growing of crops and animal husbandry.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia)