The Western Cape has created 95 000 new jobs in the past year, with the drought-hit agricultural sector showing promising signs of recovery.

The Stats SA quarterly labour force survey, released on Tuesday (30 October), shows that the Western Cape has created 95 000 new jobs in the past year, with the drought-hit agricultural sector showing promising signs of recovery.

The data for the third quarter of 2018,  shows that unemployment in the province declined from 20.7% to 20.4% quarter on quarter. More importantly, unemployment has declined by 1.5 percentage points year on year, from 21.9% at this time last year, to its current 20.4%. This is far lower than the national unemployment rate of 27.5%, which saw an increase of 0.3 percentage points since last quarter.

The province also maintained its position as having the lowest expanded unemployment rate of any province, at 23.7%, compared with the national expanded unemployment rate of 37.3%.

The Western Cape agricultural sector created 24 000 new jobs between the third quarter of last year and the third quarter of 2018, and 2 000 jobs quarter on quarter. Other major contributors to job creation in the province were the finance sector, which created 32 000 news jobs, community and social services, creating 53 000 new jobs and trade which gained 20 000 jobs, year on year. These were however offset by losses experienced in the manufacturing sector and employment by private households- the latter reflecting household belt tightening under tough economic pressure.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said: “Despite a drought which had a major impact on our economy this year, the Western Cape has managed to create 95 000 new jobs. We are also pleased to see the recovery in jobs in the agricultural sector however, with drought conditions still being experienced in parts of the province, this sector is not out of the woods yet.”

“We’ve also seen excellent growth in jobs in our financial services sector, with 32 000 new jobs, representing year on year growth of 7.6%. This sector now employs nearly half a million people, showing the potential this region has as an economic and finance hub.”

Of the 95 000 new jobs created, 34 000 were in non-metro areas, with the remaining 61 000 in the City of Cape Town.

A total of 188 000 new jobs were created in the South African economy in the past year.

Minsiter Winde said: “Of the net jobs created in South Africa, the Western Cape contributed approximately half, despite only making up 14% of the national economy. The Western Cape has consistently performed well in job creation which is a reflection that our efforts to grow the economy, through strategies like Project Khulisa, are starting to pay dividends for the people of the province.”

Minister Winde said: “It has been an honour to serve in this portfolio as Minister of Economic Opportunities for nearly ten years and it is rewarding to see that the province continues to create meaningful change through job creation. Growing the economy and creating jobs will continue to be the provincial government’s number one priority going forward”.

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