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Outlook bleak as SA sheds more jobs

Dec 12 2017 16:38
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Employment levels declined during the third quarter of the year, with an analyst expecting employment to remain flat going forward.

The economy shed 31 000 jobs in the third quarter of the year, according to the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for the third quarter by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). Compared to the same period last year, this is down 0.9% or 83 000 jobs shed. The QES assesses samples from private non-agricultural businesses such as factories, firms, offices, stores and national provincial and local government entities.

FNB senior economic analyst Jason Muscat said that the job shedding was greater than market expectations and it is of concern how broad-based the shedding was. “We maintain that the employment rate is likely to remain flat over the forecast horizon given low levels of investment, confidence and economic growth.”

According to the data the decline was driven by job losses in the community services sector, which were down 0.4%, or 10 000 jobs shed. This includes government employees. A total of 106 000 jobs were lost over the past year, Muscat highlighted.

“We believe this ongoing trend reflects efforts to reduce the public sector headcount,” said Muscat. But this effect was offset by public sector wage growth, driven by 7.7% growth for community service employees and 10.1% at electricity utilities. 

Other sectors include manufacturing which was down 0.4% or 5 000 jobs shed; the mining sector which was down 1.9% or 9 000 jobs shed; electricity down 1.6% or 1 000 jobs shed, trade was down 0.3% or 7 000 jobs shed and business services were down 0.3% or 6 000 jobs shed.

There were increases in employment in the construction industry, up 4 000 and the transport industry, up 3 000.

Earnings

The data also showed that total earnings paid to employees over the quarter increased R20bn or 3.3% to R606bn in September 2017. Compared to the same period last year this was up R34.4bn, according to Stats SA.

The increase in gross earnings was driven by the business services industry, up R9.9bn or 6.8% over the quarter. This was followed by the community services industry with growth of 32.5% or R4.8bn.

The mining and quarrying industry reported gross earnings growth of R729m while the construction industry reported growth of R38m, both below inflation at 3.4% and 0.2% respectively, noted Muscat. “The ongoing strain in the manufacturing and construction sectors was evident in the gross earnings increase for employees,” he said.

The transport industry particularly paid R223m less in gross earnings compared to the previous quarter, according to the report.

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unemployment  |  sa economy  |  labour

 
 
 
 

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