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Employment increased by 42 000 in first quarter - Statistics SA

Stats SA said the increase in jobs was largely due to increases in the community services with 69 000 jobs, manufacturing with 8 000 jobs and mining with 2 000 jobs. File photo

Stats SA said the increase in jobs was largely due to increases in the community services with 69 000 jobs, manufacturing with 8 000 jobs and mining with 2 000 jobs. File photo

Published Jun 29, 2022

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Community services, manufacturing and mining industries in South Africa managed to create thousands of jobs in the first quarter of 2022, amid a gloomy labour market as the country’s unemployment rate remains the highest in the world.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) yesterday said 42 000 jobs were created in the formal non-agricultural sector between January and March compared to the previous three months.

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According to the Quarterly Employment Statistics survey, total employment increased by 42 000, or 0.4 percent, quarter-on-quarter, bringing the level of total employment to about 10.1 million people.

Stats SA said the increase in jobs was largely due to increases in the community services with 69 000 jobs, manufacturing with 8 000 jobs and mining with 2 000 jobs.

Growth in community services was led by national government departments, and these jobs appear to be mostly part-time and at lower base salary ranges – likely reflecting census work.

The electricity industry reported no quarterly change, but trade experienced a decline of 18 000 jobs, construction fell by 9 000 jobs, business services lost 8 000 jobs and transport also lost 2 000 jobs.

Encouragingly, jobs in the hotel and restaurant industry continued to improve by 2.5 percent quarter-on-quarter and 3.2 percent year-on-year.

FNB economist Koketso Mano said the removal of all pandemic-related restrictions should support further recovery in the sector.

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However, Mano said rising global and local inflation was a pertinent risk to consumer spending.

“Prevailing geopolitical tensions and the related rise in global inflation are expected to slow the momentum in global growth, which poses a risk to domestic output,” Mano said.

“In addition, the KwaZulu-Natal floods and electricity shortages are likely to exacerbate the impact on local growth, and impede employment prospects.

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“In line with this, the recovery of the labour market to pre-pandemic levels may still be protracted in the near term.

“Beyond this, further progress on structural reform and more robust growth in private sector investment should support employment growth.”

Stats SA said that full-time jobs rose by 1 000 quarter-on-quarter, largely due to increases in the business services and mining industries.

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However, there were decreases in the trade, manufacturing, transport, construction and community services.

During the same period, part-time jobs increased by 41 000 quarter-on-quarter, from 1 182 000 in December, 2021 to 1 223 000 in March, 2022.

On a yearly basis, Stats SA said total employment increased by 200 000 or 2.0 percent between March 2021 and March 2022.

In spite of jobs increasing during the period, Stats SA said that gross earnings paid to workers decreased by R28.2 billion or 3.4 percent, from R827.3bn in December, 2021 to R799.1bn in March, 2022.

It said this was mainly due to decreases in the community services, manufacturing, transport, trade, construction and electricity industries.

Investec economist Lara Hodes said many households remained financially stretched as the cost of living continued to climb.

“South Africa’s growth trajectory continues to be stifled by electricity supply constraints, logistical challenges and heightened red tape,” Hodes said.

“A lift in the factors which drive business confidence is required to encourage investment, growth and accordingly job creation,” she said.

BUSINESS REPORT

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