South Africa’s unemployment rate surged to the highest on a global list of 82 countries monitored by Bloomberg.
Namibia was second while Nigeria came in third on the list (see chart).
The jobless rate rose to 34.4 percent in the second quarter from 32.6 percent in the three months through March, Statistics South Africa said Tuesday in a report released in the capital, Pretoria.
Unemployment according to the expanded definition, which includes people who were available for work but not looking for a job, rose to 44.4 percent from 43.2 percent in the first quarter.
The unemployment data is likely to deteriorate in the third quarter because the government tightened Covid-19 curbs in the face of a third wave of infections, hindering efforts to revive an economy that shrank 7 percent last year.
There was also an eruption of deadly riots in July in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, two key economic hubs, which claimed 354 lives and saw thousands of businesses looted and shuttered.
The unrest cost the country about 50 billion rand ($3.3 billion) in lost output and placed at least 150,000 jobs at risk, according to the South African Property Owners Association.
The unemployment rate in Africa’s most-industrialized economy has been above 20 percent for at least two decades, even though output expanded by 5 percent or more a year in the early 2000s.
- Finance industry lost 278,000 jobs.
- Community, social services lost 166,000 jobs.
- Manufacturing lost 83,000 jobs.
- Construction added 143,000 jobs.
- Agriculture added 69,000 jobs.