The unemployment rate in South Africa has hit its worst level, at 27,1%.
However, the absolute number of people employed increased in the third quarter of 2016 by 288 000 to 15,8-million people being employed, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) report from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
Statistician-general Pali Lehohla says the increase follows on two successive quarterly declines.
According to the report, formal sector jobs increased by 112 000 quarter-on-quarter to 11-million.
The QLFS also showed that growth in employment was driven by the construction and finance and other business services, which grew by 104 000 and 103 000 respectively. The agriculture sector saw growth of 56 000 jobs, while trade added 61 000 jobs.
According to the report, 52% of employed people in the country in the third quarter were aged between 35 and 54 years.
The services, trade and finances industries accounted for over 55% of the employed and 60% of gross domestic product (GDP), while the community and social services industries remained as the largest employer.
Lehohla says that, while the number of employed people increased from 14,4-million in 2008 to 15,8-million in 2016, the absorption rate in the country has not recovered to the pre-recession level of 45,8% in 2008.
The unemployment rate, however, increased by 0,5% quarter-on-quarter to 27,1%, the highest since 2003. According to the report, there were 5,9-million people that were unemployed in the third quarter.
The unemployment rate among women was at 29,3%, while that of men was at 25,2%.
The report showed that unemployment remained the largest driver of poverty.
Quarterly increases in the official unemployment rate were observed in six of the nine provinces, with the North West experiencing the largest increase at 3,2%.
The expanded unemployment rate, which includes those who wanted to work but did not look for work, decreased by 0,1% quarter-on-quarter to 36,3%.
The report showed that 15 million people aged 15 to 64 years were neither employed nor unemployed. The majority of discouraged work seekers had an educational level below matric.