S’Africa Q4 Unemployment Rate Unchanged

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South Africa’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 29.1 per cent in the final quarter of 2019 compared with the previous quarter, official data showed on Tuesday. There were 6.726 million people without jobs in the three months to December 31, from 6.734 million people in the prior quarter, Statistics South Africa said its quarterly labour force survey.

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, was 38.7 per cent, slightly up from 38.5 per cent in the previous quarter. South Africa’s manufacturing output fell 5.9 per cent year-on-year in December, its biggest drop since July 2014, after contracting by 3.2 per cent in November, the statistics agency said on Tuesday.

On a month-on-month basis factory production was down 2.8 per cent in December and fell 0.3 per cent in the three months to the end of December, Statistics South Africa said.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s rand firmed early on Tuesday as sentiment was helped by an apparent slowdown in coronavirus infections, with focus shifting to domestic economic data and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address later this week.