South Africa's official unemployment rate fell for the fourth consecutive quarter in October-December, moving further away from a record high struck during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unemployment fell to 32.7% in the final three months of 2022 from 32.9% in the July-September period, the statistics agency said on Tuesday.

But the total number of unemployed people edged up to 7.753 million people in October-December from 7.725 million in the previous three months.

According to an expanded definition of unemployment that includes those discouraged from seeking work, 42.6% were without work in the fourth quarter, down from 43.1% in the third quarter.

Africa's most industrialised economy has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, with a yawning divide between the rich and poor remaining almost three decades after the end of apartheid.

The official unemployment rate hit a record high of 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021.


(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee Editing by Alexander Winning)