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Public works as a solution to unemployment in South Africa? Two different models of public works programme compared

Briefing/policy papers

South Africa has an exceptionally high rate of unemployment of 31% of persons currently seeking work, and 42% seeking work and who would seek work if employment prospects were less discouraging. Economic growth since the end of Apartheid has sharply increased demand for skilled labour, but the demand for semi-skilled and unskilled labour has if anything fallen, leaving overall employment unchanged (McCord, 2002). Unemployment rates are similar in both urban and rural areas. Many of the unemployed have never been in regular employment. Unemployment is closely correlated with, and a prime cause of, persistent poverty (McCord, 2004).