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South Africa unemployment down for first time in two years

South Africa’s unemployment rate has fallen for the first time in almost two years, declining to 34.5 percent in the first quarter of 2022 from 35.3 percent at the end of last year, StatsSA said Tuesday.

The official statistics agency said 370,000 jobs were created, leading to a net fall of 60,000 in the number of unemployed, to 7.9 million.

The biggest job gains were in community and social services, manufacturing and trade, with losses in finance, construction and agriculture.

Poverty, inequality and joblessness run high in South Africa, nearly three decades after the end of apartheid. Tension in the labour market has fuelled protests and anti-foreigner sentiment.

Unemployment last fell in the second quarter of 2020, Malerato Mosiane of StatsSA told AFP.

The unemployment rate among young people, defined as 15 to 34 years old, fell by 1.2 percentage points over the last quarter of 2021, to 47.8 percent.