The workforce in the formal non-agricultural sector had increased by about 22 000 people, or 0.3 percent, in the final quarter of last year, Statistics SA said yesterday.
The increase was from a base of 8.439 million last September as reflected in the Quarterly Employment Statistics.
The economics research team at Standard Bank said this was in contrast to the 68 000 job losses reflected in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the same quarter.
Whereas in the past the government’s community and social sector has been the leading job creator, employment in the final quarter grew mainly in the services sectors of trade, transport and finance.
Stats SA said the community, social and personal services industry reported a quarterly decrease of 14 000 employees or 0.6 percent in December compared with September. This was mainly due to decreases in employment in provincial and national administrations and universities and technikons.
The manufacturing industry had a quarterly increase of 4 000 employees, or 0.3 percent. This was due to employment growth in the production, processing and the preserving of meat and meat products, and manufacturing of plastic products, furniture and vehicles.
There was no change in the electricity, gas and water supply industry, but a decrease of 5 000 employees in the construction industry during the quarter. The mining industry added 1 000 employees.
The wholesale and retail trade, repair of vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods, and hotels and restaurants industry grew by 19 000 employees, or 1.1 percent.
The transport, storage and communication industry added 11 000 employees, a 3 percent gain. This was mainly due to employment growth in land transport, post and telecoms.
The financial intermediation, insurance, real estate and business services industry grew by 6 000 employees or 0.3 percent. This was mainly due to employment increases in business activities, including insurance and pension funding, and advertising, which had previously not been classified.
Commenting on mining jobs, Standard Bank said: “While the mining sector reflected robust job gains in the second quarter of 2012, it continues to face soaring input costs and output disruptions. The industrial action in the third quarter, particularly in the platinum sector, put a dampener on employment in the second half of 2012, with 15 000 job losses reported.”
The bank said labour disputes, weak global demand and falling commodity prices had knocked the sector’s profitability, which was likely to severely affect future employment.
“Mining production is unlikely to pick up significantly this year,” Standard Bank said.
“Mining inflation remains high, with rising labour and electricity costs, in particular, affecting profitability. We cannot rule out further industrial action in the sector during the course of the year and, as such, see employment growth remaining vulnerable in 2013.
“Our outlook on the mining sector remains weak. We expect the spill-over effects to further impact on gross domestic product growth in 2013.”