Unemployment reaches 12-year high on the back of weak growth

The unemployment rate rose to 26.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015, the highest it’s been since 2003, according to Statistics South Africa.

This is up from 24.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Economic growth slowed to 1.3 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

The expanded unemployment rate, which includes those who have given up on finding a job, rose to 36.1 percent from 34.6 percent.

We interviewed FNB Economist Alex Smith.

Listen to the audio (scroll down) for more detail.

Only 43 percent of adult South Africans have a job.

Alex Smith, Economist at FNB

The agricultural sector saw a massive contraction, driven by drought. Manufacturing and construction also fell due to electricity supply issues.

Alex Smith, Economist at FNB

South Africa is performing below par. We should be growing much faster but electricity supply constraints are putting a stop to that.

Alex Smith, Economist at FNB

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