Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said this was the first time since 2008 that the unemployment rate had not decreased in the fourth quarter.
The last quarter of 2019 saw the number of employed persons increase by 45,000 to 16.4 million, Maluleke said.
In the same period, he added, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 8,000 to 6.7 million in Q4 of 2019, compared to Q3 of 2019, resulting in an increase of 38,000 in the labour force.
Between Q4: 2009 and Q4: 2019, unemployment rates have increased by 5%, the official noted.
Maluleke said the South African working-age population in the fourth quarter of 2019 increased by 145,000 compared to Q3 of 2019.
“The number of discouraged work-seekers increased by 62,000 and those, who were not active in the labour market for reasons other than discouragement, increased by 45,000, resulting in a net increase of 107,000 in the number of those who were not economically active,” he concluded.