The number of people choosing not to take part in the economy grew by almost 25%.
The employment situation in SA is overwhelmingly desperate, economist Mike Schussler said on Thursday.
He was speaking at the launch of trade union UASA's ninth SA Employment Report in Johannesburg.
"There's been a lot of pussy footing around in SA and a lot of investigation into the country's employment situation. Some institutions like universities have had a lot of nice things to say, but the fact is that over the last ten years we haven't got anywhere -- so that means that we've not listened to the studies or we haven't done much."
Schussler added that employment growth in SA's formal non-agricultural sector added only 2,0 percent to employment numbers while overall employment including agriculture, informal and domestic work, grew just 4,5 percent over the last decade.
"This is just not satisfactory as we need to see 3,0 percent to 4,0 percent growth in employment numbers every year."
The number of people choosing not to take part in the economy grew by almost 25 percent while the population in the decade from September 2000 to March 2010 grew by 12,7 percent and the formally unemployed by 3,6 percent.
"This is worrisome and shows a huge cultural change," Schussler said.
"In ten years time we'll have another 25 percent of the population saying they don't want to work and we must ask why."
Non-participation in the economy could be a result of discouragement but it could also be that welfare cheques were "ruling the roost and people sometimes have no need to work".
Schussler said more South Africans received money from welfare than from employment with 12,8 million people working -- not all for money -- and 13,8 million people receiving welfare payments from the proceeds of five million taxpayers.
"I don't know of any other country in the world where the recipients of welfare are greater than the amount of people who work."
Schussler said that according to a recent joint report from the African Union and the United Nations, SA currently had the lowest adult employment ratio in Africa.
"This puts this country -- which is a relatively rich country -- to shame."
He added that he did not know why the joint AU and UN report had been ignored by the media.
"The report shows that the employment ratio of adults in SA is only 41.4 percent compared to a ratio of 83 percent in Uganda, 80 percent in Rwanda and 78 percent in Tanzania -- and what is more, workers in SA only need to work for eight hours a month to be considered as employed."
Schussler said that if SA had the average adult employment ratio of 64 percent -- similar to many average African countries -- seven million more adults would be employed in the country.
Around one million jobs were lost during SA's recession so the country had remained in a net job loss situation since 1994.
"After 16 years of democracy, this country has still not found the right track for creating jobs, only for protecting older jobs and therefore creating more inequality in the process.
no matter what anybody thinks or wants to believe, this country cannot sustain itself and the paw paw wil hit the fan in the next few years