South Africa unemployment surges to 25.5 percent to record 5.2 million

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Johannesburg, South Africa (4E) – The unemployment rate in South Africa climbed to 25.5 percent in the second quarter as strikes hit the country’s slow-growing economy, according to official data released Tuesday.

The jobless rate increased to 25.5 percent from 25.2 percent in the first three months of 2014, according to the country’s statistical agency, bringing the total tally of officially unemployed South Africans at a record level of 5.2 million.

South African authorities had pledged to reduce the unemployment rate by generating new jobs. But the economy expanded 1.9 percent this year and the central bank is predicting a growth of just 1.7 percent in 2014, which officials admit is not enough to create new jobs.

A huge problem for South Africa has been the strikes in its mining and manufacturing sectors. From January to June, around 70,000 platinum miners were on strike seeking increased wages, and over 200,000 members of a metalworkers’ union went on strike for most part of July.

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