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SA continues to shed low-skilled jobs

Jul 11 2011 10:33 I-Net Bridge

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Johannesburg - Employment in the mainly unskilled and semi-skilled categories dropped sharply during June, while positions in the unofficial sector shot up as did high-skilled management and professional services jobs.

This is according to the latest employment index for June, released by Adcorp on Monday.

Adcorp has also predicted a marked increase of 22% in strike activity during 2011 compared with last year.

"About 127 100 permanent and 5 712 temporary jobs were shed last month, even though a 21.9% increase in high-level and professional employment was seen," Adcorp labour market analyst Loane Sharp said.

The buoyant agency sector, which has consistently contributed to employment growth for well over a decade, remained completely static.

SA's unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world. In 2010, there were 8.5 million unemployed and underemployed people.

Sharp said official statistics do not incorporate informal employment, which is employment that may not involve a formal contract or membership of a pension fund or medical aid.

"If we fully account for informal employment, SA's unemployment rate is closer to 8% than 25%," says Sharp.

"Many millions of enterprising South Africans make a living on a daily basis and neither pay taxes nor adhere to labour laws."

Adcorp's employment index for June shows that positions in the unofficial sector increased by 1 059.

This month's Adcorp employment index also reveals that in 2010 there were more working days lost due to strikes and work stoppages than at the peak of "rolling mass action" under apartheid.

"Based on Adcorp's monitoring of trade union activities this year, we estimate that SA will lose 24.9 million days due to strikes and work stoppages in 2011. This represents an increase of 22% over 2010.

"Compared with recent years, where strike activity has been most aggressive in the government sector, the private sector is likely to account for 68% of all workdays lost this year.

SA's unemployment rate increased from about 7% in the mid-1970s to 13% in the mid-1990s and 25% in the late 2000s. 

unemployment  |  sa economy
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