Johannesburg - It is concerning that 1.9 million unemployed people are new entrants into the labour market, Fedusa said on Tuesday.
"This figure translates into a staggering 43.4% of those who are unemployed," Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) general secretary Dennis George said in a statement.
"What are we doing to provide jobs for our young people... many of them have qualifications and skills and they remain unemployed?" he asked.
The information was released on Tuesday in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) which reflected data collected on the labour market activities of people aged between 15 and 64.
While the survey showed that the number of people in the labour force increased between October 2010 and March 2011, employment figures decreased by 14 000 over the period, George said.
The number of unemployed people increased by 227 000 between October 2010 and March 2011, while the number of work-seekers increased by 73 000.
"These figures indicate that the South Africa economy is still very much recovering from the recent global recession, however sustainable job creation must be made a priority," George said.
Fedusa's observation was that the hardest hit industries were transport, construction and agriculture, he said.
Job losses had been experienced in most provinces except Gauteng, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.
George said Fedusa was pleased that there had been an increase in jobs in crafts and related trades, and sales and services.
"This highlights the importance of skilled artisans," he said.
"South Africa needs to equip workers with the necessary skills that will lay the foundations for entrepreneurs and the increased creation of small to medium businesses which will in turn create more jobs and increase economic growth."