PRETORIA– South Africa’s unemployment rate rose to 27.5 percent in the third quarter from 27.2 percent in the second quarter, the country’s statistics office said.

There were 6.2 million people without jobs in the three months to the end of September, compared with 6.1 million people in the prior quarter, Statistics South Africa said its quarterly labour force survey.

The statistics office said the formal sector, private households and agriculture recorded declines in employment, while the informal sector had employment gains.

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose slightly to 37.3 percent in the third quarter from 37.2 percent in the previous quarter.

On another development, the central bank may have no choice but to hike interest rates as inflation remains “uncomfortably” near the upper end of its target range and economic growth is lagging, it said.

But while the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) was considering raising rates, they would not rise as steeply as in some other emerging markets forced to respond to deep currency selloffs.

“Although we have talked about raising interest rates, we are not contemplating emergency hikes of hundreds of basis points,” the bank’s Governor Lesetja Kganyago said in its biannual policy review.



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