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Employers add 5 000 jobs in first quarter

Wiseman Khuzwayo

Employment in the formal non-agricultural sector rose marginally from the end of December last year to the end of March this year, according to Statistics SA.

Stats SA’s Quarterly Employment Statistics survey released yesterday shows the number of people employed in the formal non-agricultural sector grew by about 5 000 people, or 0.1 percent in this time. There were an estimated 8 379 000 employees at year-end and about 8 384 000 employees at the end of March.

Stats SA said the gross earnings paid to employees during the quarter to March amounted to R347.7 billion. This reflected a quarterly decrease of R17.6bn, or minus 4.8 percent, compared with the quarter to December.

The agency said: “The March 2012 Quarterly Employment Statistics survey shows that an estimated 8 384 000 people were employed in the formal non-agricultural of the South African economy.

“This reflects an annual increase of about 95 000 employees (plus 1.1 percent), compared with March 2011.”

Abdul Davids, the head of research at Kagiso Asset Management, said the rise in employment was in line with the PMI employment index, released on Monday. This went up above 50 points for the first time in two years. “The mining and construction sectors are moving away from using contractors to employing directly. This may be due to the debate on labour brokers.”

Mike Schussler, an award-winning economist, said: “That we created 5 000 jobs in one quarter is neither here nor there. It will take us over 77 years to get out of the employment quagmire at the rate at which we are going.”

The survey found that the gross earnings paid to employees during the first quarter reflected an annual increase of R29.4bn, or 9.2 percent, compared with the quarter to March 2011.

Average monthly earnings, including bonuses and overtime payments, paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector in February came in at R13 080. This was down by 1 percent from November 2011 but represented an annual average increase of 6.7 percent.

The mining and quarrying industry reported an annual increase of 11 000 employees, or 2.2 percent, in March 2012 compared with March 2011.

There was a quarterly rise of 4 000 employees or 0.8 percent in March 2012, compared with December 2011.

Stats SA said the construction industry reported an annual increase of 17 000 employees, or 4.1 percent, at the end of March compared with the end of March 2011.

There was a quarterly increase of 4 000 employees or 0.9 percent in March compared with December 2011.

The agency said this was mainly due to increases in employment in the building of complete constructions.

Gross earnings of employees in the electricity, water and gas supply industry reflected an annual increase of R404m, or 9.4 percent, for the quarter to March this year, compared with the quarter to March 2011.

Gross earnings of employees in the manufacturing industry reflected an annual increase of R3 091m, or 7.7 percent, for the quarter to March 2012 from the quarter to March last year.

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