South Africa’s unemployment rate plunged to the lowest in 11 years in the second quarter as one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic shut all but essential economic activity and prevented people who were retrenched from looking for jobs.
The jobless rate fell to 23.3% from 30.1% in the three months to March, Statistics South Africa said in a report released on Tuesday. The median estimate of 10 economists in a Bloomberg survey was 34.9%. Unemployment according to the expanded definition rose to 42%.
Restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus put the economy into its longest recession in 28 years, with GDP contracting more than expected in the second quarter. Most businesses were shut for five weeks from 27 March and some cut wages, reduced staff or closed down permanently because of the lockdown.
The number of people who are officially unemployed fell by 2.8 million to 4.3 million, and the employed dropped by 2.2 million to 14.1 million, according to the report. The number of non-economically active people rose by 5.2 million to 20.6 million. — (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP