The effects of South Africa’s high unemployment will be felt for decades to come, SA Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus said on Wednesday.
“Joblessness is the most pressing economic issue facing the world today,” Marcus told delegates at a labour law conference in Johannesburg.
She said the problem of unemployment was not unique to South Africa, and that many other countries were seeking ways to address it.
“At least 200 million people are unemployed in the world today. This figure excludes those who are not actively seeking work.”
The Statistics SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey released on Tuesday revealed that the number of unemployed increased to 4.7 million in the second quarter of 2013, the highest level yet.
Between the first and second quarter of the year, 122,000 people joined the ranks of the unemployed.
Marcus said the rate of job creation had been too slow and not sufficient to absorb the people seeking work.
“We need an enabling environment that encourages investment, an increase in exports, and economic growth to be able to effectively fight unemployment.”