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StatsSA’s recent labour force survey of about 30,000 households confirmed the baleful state of the labour market. In the third quarter, the supply of potential workers increased by 153,000, or 0.4% — much faster than demand for labour. That increased by 92,000 to 16.4-million. The numbers defined as unemployed, not working but actively looking for work, increased by 127,000 to 6.2-million, pushing the unemployment rate to 27.5% of the potential workforce. However, not all the news from the employment front was bad, depending on your perspective. While the formal sector continued to shed jobs, the informal sector was adding them at a rapid rate. In the third quarter, informal employment outside agriculture rose by 188,000 and by 327,000 or 12.2% over the past year to more than 3-million workers employed informally, or more than 18% of all those estimated to be employed. The decline in formal employment and increase in informal employment is not a coincidence. Formal employment has be...

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