The number of unemployed increased by 62 thousand to 6.20 million from 6.14 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Employment declined by 237 thousand to 16.29 million from 16.53 million in the previous period. Job shedding was registered in the formal sector (-126 thousand), informal sector (-68 thousand), private households (-31 thousand), construction (-142 thousand), agriculture (-12 thousand), mining (-20 thousand), finance (-94 thousand) and community and social services (-50 thousand). In contrast, gains were observed in manufacturing (+14 thousand), utilities (+16 thousand), trade (+25 thousand) and transport (+59 thousand)
The labour force also went down by 176 thousand to 22.49 million from 22.67 million in the preceding quarter and those detached from it rose by 325 thousand to 15.79 million from 15.47 million in Q4.
The expanded definition of unemployment, including people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 38 percent in the first quarter of 2019 from 37 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.
By genders, the jobless rate dropped for women (29.3 percent vs 29.5 percent in Q4) but it increased for men (26.1 percent vs 25.1 percent). Also, the youth unemployment rate continued to climb to 55.2 percent from 54.7 percent in Q4, putting the rate at the highest level since Q2 2017.
In terms of breakdown by population, African black persons (31.1 percent vs 30.4 percent) and Coloured (22.2 percent vs 21.6 percent) were more affected by unemployment than White (6.6 percent vs 7.6 percent) or Indian/Asian (11.4 percent vs 12.4 percent).