South Africa's official unemployment rate increased by 2.2 percentage points to reach 26.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the previous quater, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Monday.
This means 5.7 million out South Africa's 36.4 million people of working age in the country were unemployed during the first four months of 2016.
Increases in the official unemployment rate were recorded in all provinces, except for Limpopo, Stats SA said.
The largest increases were recorded in North West (4.2 percentage points), Free State (4.1 percentage points) and Mpumalanga (4.1 percentage points).
The official unemployment rate decreased by 1.6 percentage points in Limpopo.
The number of employed people decreased in seven of the nine provinces between the fourth quarter of 2015 and first quarter of 2016, with the largest decrease in Gauteng at 195,000.
The expanded unemployment rate, which includes discouraged job seekers, amounts to 36.3 percent, or 8.9 million people.
The gap between the official and expanded unemployment rates increased from 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 9.6 percent in the first quarter of 2016.
Releasing the Quarterly Labour Force Survey in Pretoria, Statistician General Pali Lehohla blamed the government for not doing enough to address unemployment in the country.
"Government will have done enough when you see a change in the unemployment trend. There is no indication of a turning point and the current economic climate is not helping," he said.
He urged the government to create jobs at a similar rate to which the labour force is growing, while the country generally needs a more skillful labour force.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said the fact that 8.9 million people do not have jobs, or have give up looking for jobs, cannot be blamed on external factors alone, and has much to do with the failure of government to implement the structural reforms necessary to boost economic growth and create jobs in South Africa.