IMAGINE the Ellis Park rugby stadium in Johannesburg, crammed to the brim with a full house of 70,000 people. Now imagine five such stadiums put together. That’s the magnitude of the drop in employment in SA in just the first three months of this year.Now multiply those 355,000 newly jobless people by five dependants each (a conservative estimate) and you have the real figure of 1.7m people affected.This is the grim reality behind the latest figures released this week by Stats SA: overall unemployment has risen 2.2 percentage points to 26.7%. But by the “expanded” unemployment measure, which includes people between 15 and 64 available to take a job who have given up looking for work, the jobless make up 36.3% of the potential work force. That’s 8.9m people unemployed.This horror of unemployment sours a national mood which had brightened this weekend, after ratings agency Moody’s decided not to downgrade our credit rating.Of course, creating jobs should be the number one priority for...

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