The number of people employed in South Africa's formal sector increased slightly in the second quarter, with the mining and retail sectors among those that added jobs.

Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday the number of those employed went up by 0.1 percent to 8.296 million in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. The employment number was up 2.0 percent year-on-year.

Employment in the mining and quarrying, and wholesale and retail sectors went up 0.8 percent and 0.5 percent respectively in the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year.

But manufacturing, which is the second largest contributer to GDP, was still shedding jobs, with employment in the sector down 0.7 percent in the quarter.

With a population of about 50 million, Africa's biggest economy is struggling to lift millions out of poverty with an unemployment rate of above 25 percent of the labour force.

President Jacob Zuma's government has pledged to increase employment but has done little to cut into a persistently high jobless rate, while many of its training programmes have been riddled with corruption.

Analysts said labour laws proposed by the ruling African National Congress and before parliament are expected to make things worse by adding costs and burdens on employers.

The government has said the economy needs to grow by 7 percent a year to make a dent on unemployment, but with the average GDP growth rate of 3 to 3.5 percent seen over the next few years means the million who have lost jobs since 2009's recession are unlikely to be absorbed back into the labour market.