jobless nightmare

The latest unemployment rate - showing that 270 000 had lost jobs in three months - is higher than Statistics SA claims, says trade union Solidarity.

The latest unemployment rate - showing that 270 000 had lost jobs in three months - is higher than Statistics SA claims, says trade union Solidarity.

Statistics SA (SSA) released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) yesterday showing the country's jobless rate had increased to 23,5percent in March 2009 from 21,9percent in the previous three months.

Solidarity said unemployment was probably higher because SSA did not "really succeed in measuring retrenchments in some industries, including mining" .

"At the beginning of this year, Solidarity already expressed criticism over SSA's method for determining the unemployment figure.

"According to the latest QLFS, employment increased in the mining industry during the first quarter of 2009," Solidarity said, adding that the reality was "something completely different".

According to the union, the mining industry had, without a doubt, relinquished thousands of jobs this year.

"Therefore, we can confidently say that unemployment is probably much higher . in other sectors of the economy, there are probably also implausible trends, such as employment in the financial service sector increasing.

Solidarity estimated that unemployment in South Africa was actually between 35percent and 40percent.

"One ongoing problem of SSA's unemployment figure is that discouraged job seekers are not included." the union said.

These were unemployed people who had not actively looked for work in the period of four weeks preceding the research.

"The reality is that there are more than one million discouraged job seekers in South Africa and they are not out job-hunting because they cannot find work."

Solidarity spokesman Jaco Kleynhans said unemployment was one of the biggest problems facing South Africa.

"Hence it is essential to look at the real picture to act resolutely against unemployment."

Solidarity was worried unemployment could increase. - Sapa

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