South Africa's high rate of unemployment (25%) makes it a complete outlier compared with other middle-income countries.
Indeed, the unemployment rate rises to 33% if discouraged workers are taken into account.
It underpins extreme poverty and inequality and is a major contributor to social dislocation.
If it were not for increased social payments, poverty would have continued to increase since the advent of democracy in 1994.
Unemployment also represents a huge cost to growth. This book focuses on the growth path of the economy.
The starting point is that while more rapid economic expansion is an important objective, at any given level of growth, the economy as a whole needs to become more labour-absorbing.
The central question posed is how to bring about changes in the economic structure and pattern of development, which would lead to the attainment of this objective. The authors argue that employment needs to be much more centrally positioned within the economic and social policy arena.
They emphasise innovative approaches within a broader focus on the growth path, and employment-intensive growth. And they posit that the negative impact of previous `distortions' requires much more than a levelling of the playing field via market-based reforms.
Apart from presenting an alternative growth path which could start to shift the economy in new directions, the book tackles themes which have received only limited attention, such as wage subsidies, youth unemployment and employment growth in rural areas. Recommended for: Policy-makers and academics in the area of economics, development studies and land reform.