With the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008, South Africa experienced its first recession in almost seventeen years, significantly affecting the economy and the labour market. In the past two years, jobs continued to be shed in manufacturing (17,000) and construction. During the first two quarters of this year, unemployment rose, reaching a new peak at 25,3 per cent of the labour force. A recent labour force survey data shows tentative signs of improvement in late 2010, with 28,000 new jobs created in services and 25,000 in finance and real estate.
In a recent address to the African National Congress, President Jacob Zuma promised that the government will guide the economy on a new, labour-absorbing path, based on the Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel's economic growth plan, billed as a response to the country's unemployment problem.
With the newly signed Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP), South Africa has taken a decisive step to promote decent work as a key component of its national development. In support of the DWCP, South Africa is furthermore actively being assisted in implementing the Global Jobs Pact through a national jobs pact, which aligns its policies with the current 4 priorities of the DWCP: strengthening fundamental principles and rights at work; promoting employment creation; strengthening and broadening social protection coverage; and strengthening tripartism and social dialogue.
For more information on the job crisis and recovery in South Africa, please visit the ILO Job Crisis Observatory.