S.Africa loses 395,000 jobs in 2010

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South Africa lost 395,000 jobs in 2010, the government said Wednesday, despite the expected windfall from hosting the football World Cup and the nation's recovery from recession.

The poor showing last year followed the loss of 870,000 jobs in 2009, according to Statistics SA, meaning most of the job gains of the last six years have been wiped out.

About 13.1 million people were employed in 2010, compared to 12.8 million in 2005, the government's statistical agency said.

"This indicates the country has not yet fully recovered from the economic downturn in 2009," Stats SA official Kefiloe Masiteng told reporters.

Last year also saw a shift of jobs from the formal economy to the informal sector. The number of jobs in the formal economy slipped 3.5 percent last year, while informal jobs increased by 1.4 percent, it added.

The research also found that whites in the work force tend to be better educated, with 43 percent holding a tertiary qualification, against 12 percent of blacks.

Among the South Africans who have jobs, 70 percent are black, against 15 percent for whites. But blacks make up 78 percent of the national population, against 10 percent for whites.

President Jacob Zuma has made tackling unemployment his top priority, announcing in February that the government would spend nine billion rand ($1.4 billion, 942 million euros) over the next three years to create new jobs.

The country has struggled to add jobs despite rebounding in 2009 from its first recession since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Unemployment currently stands at 25.7 percent, but that counts only those actively seeking work, does not capture the full extent of the jobless problem.

© 2011 AFP

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