A continued lack of fixed investment and low business confidence have kept unemployment levels astoundingly high. While SA’s unemployment rate improved in the fourth quarter of 2017, based largely on temporary work in the festive season, it stayed stubbornly high at 26.7%. This translated to 5.9-million unemployed people, based on the official definition of unemployment, which includes those who are not employed but are actively looking for jobs. While the figures show that the number of unemployed people fell by 330,000 quarter-on-quarter, much of this drop came from a 351,000 decline in the size of the labour force and a 102,000 increase in the number of discouraged work seekers. Despite the "Cyril Ramaphosa effect", which has already caused a rise in business confidence, the issue of unemployment is structural and requires a substantial increase in fixed-investment spending by the private sector. Skills development Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings said that unemployment could ...

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