Civil service boosts formal sector jobs

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Formal sector employment rose in the third quarter with the overwhelming majority of newly employed people being civil servants, according to a research note from Investec.

The gains in employment were evident on both a quarterly and an annual basis, with the number of people in formal jobs in the third quarter rising to 8.453 million. This was a gain of 0.2 percent compared both with the second quarter and with the third quarter of last year.

The Quarterly Employment Survey released by Statistics SA yesterday, which measures only formal sector employment and excludes agriculture, showed that in the third quarter 16 000 people more people were employed than in the second quarter. The biggest gain was in government services, where 15 000 jobs were added.

Gains in employment were evident in the wholesale, retail, motor vehicle and hotels and restaurant industries with 7 000 jobs added. The financial and intermediation and business services industry employed 3 000 more people and community and social services added 15 000 people.

Employment in the mining sector fell by 6 000, manufacturing jobs fell 1 000 and 3 000 jobs were lost in construction.

Investec said prospects for sustained and meaningful job creation would remain restricted by weak economic growth, with gross domestic product still at risk of falling short of official forecasts of 1.9 percent to 2 percent this year. In addition, business confidence remained suppressed, suggesting there would continue to be a reluctance to expand the workforce.

Yesterday’s formal sector employment data follows the release in late October of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the three months to September, which showed that the unemployment rate fell to 24.7 percent in the third quarter from 25.6 percent in the second.

Stats SA said at the time that according to the QLFS, employment rose for the third consecutive quarter to just over 14 million, with the level of employment in the third quarter reaching the peak of 2008. This meant South Africa had regained the 1 million jobs it lost through the recession, it was previously reported. – Staff reporter

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