South Africa\'s jobless rate fell by 0.9 points to 24.9 percent in the third quarter of this year, with the number of people employed by companies rising, official data showed on Tuesday. The unemployment rate dropped from the 25.6 percent recorded in the second quarter, according to the labour force survey. Compared to a year ago, employment in the third quarter of this year rose by 2.8 percent, Statistics SA said, while unemployment decreased by 1.2 percent. Despite the drop in the jobless rate, some 4.6 million South Africans could not find jobs amid lagging economic growth in Africa\'s most developed economy. South Africa\'s economy has been slowing at sharper than expected rates, with the International Monetary Fund this month lowering its 2013 growth forecast to two percent. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last week revised down an earlier forecast of 2.7 percent growth for this year, to 2.1 percent. The number of active job seekers, fell by 125,000 to 2.24 million during the three months July to September. Nedbank said while the \"rise in formal jobs is encouraging\", it however \"does not reflect a sustained increase in job levels.\" Employment in the formal sector is considered working for a business with five or more employees that deducts taxes from wages. Statistics SA said \"both output and jobs have been on an upward trend in recent years but only in (this third quarter) has the level of employment reached the 2008 peak.\" Despite being the largest economy on the continent, South Africa continues to underperform compared to other fast-growing countries in the region. Last year the country registered a meagre 2.5 percent growth, hit by the effects of the post 2008 global financial meltdown and the eurozone recession. Job creation has been one of the major headaches for the ANC-led government since assuming power at the end of apartheid in 1994.