South Africa has been harshly affected by the international economic crisis, which led to a fall in the GDP and an even sharper contraction in employment. While job losses levelled out in the last quarter of 2009, the crisis will continue to shape long-run development. In particular, it points to the need for a development strategy that builds more on domestic and regional demand and that focuses explicitly on employment creation as central to a cohesive and equitable society.
South Africa’s GDP declined by approximately 3% between the last quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009, and then increased in the third quarter of 2009. In comparison, the fall in employment proved steeper and more prolonged. The economy lost around a million jobs, or 6%, between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the third quarter of 2009, and gained only 90 000 back in the last quarter of 2009.