The Western Cape’s economy is set to continue outperforming the national economy, with growth probably coming from the retail and financial services sectors, provincial finance and economic development MEC Alan Winde said yesterday.
A quarterly report commissioned by the provincial government and released by the Bureau for Economic Research yesterday showed that economic activity in the province grew by 3,1% during 2010, after contracting by 1,3% in 2009. This increase is higher than that of the national economy, which grew only 2,9% in 2010. The report also found the provincial economy had created 5000 jobs in the first quarter of this year.
The latest figures could somewhat boost the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) drive to put the economy, especially job creation, at the heart of debates leading up to the 2014 general election. The DA controls the Western Cape and has in the past used its track record in the province to drive its campaigns.
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Speaking during the official release of the report, attended by local entrepreneurs, Mr Winde said although the provincial economy had created 5000 jobs during the first quarter of this year, the recorded gains remained modest compared to the growth in the labour force (those willing to participate in employment).
"Unemployment in the Western Cape, therefore, remains too high at 22,8%, but is still significantly lower than the national unemployment rate of 25,2%," Mr Winde said.
The report showed that although business confidence in the province fell to 45 index points from 49 during the first quarter of this year, in line with national trends, confidence in the province was still higher than that in SA.
"The review of our economy shows that we are moving in the right direction. We have made many gains - we have significantly higher business, wholesale and manufacturing confidence than has been recorded nationally," Mr Winde said.
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