UNEMPLOYMENT fell to 24.3% in the fourth quarter of last year — its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2013 — from 25.4% in the third quarter, Statistics SA’s quarterly labour force survey showed on Tuesday.

This meant that the number of people actively looking for jobs fell to 4.9-million from 5.1-million.

Stats SA deputy director-general for social statistics Kefiloe Masiteng cautioned that some of the jobs created were driven by the seasonality associated with the festive season as evidenced in the sectors that created mainly “casual” jobs.

The jobs created in the fourth quarter were in agriculture (56,000), construction (53,000), and trade (50,000).

Utilities, mining, and community and social services shed a combined 41,000 jobs between the third and fourth quarters of last year.

The expanded unemployment rate, which takes into account people who are not actively looking for work, declined by 1.2 percentage points to 34.6%, or 8.1-million, in the fourth quarter.

Stats SA said since the decline in employment to its lowest level of 13.6-million in the third quarter of 2010, 1.7-million jobs had been created, 1.4-million of which had been created in the formal sector.

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