The economy shed 28 000 jobs in the third quarter of the year and things are not looking good for at least the first quarter of next year. Picture: EPA
The economy shed 28 000 jobs in the third quarter of the year and things are not looking good for at least the first quarter of next year. Picture: EPA

Economy: SA job seekers in for a rough first quarter in 2020

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Dec 20, 2019

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Cape Town - The economy shed 28 000 jobs in the third quarter of the year and things are not looking good for at least the first quarter of next year.

Economist Dawie Roodt said there was uncertainty regarding the trajectory of the South African economy and it was not in a good place.

“I’m afraid it’s going to be another bad year even if we do all the right things.”

Roodt said the “right things” would include mass sackings at Eskom and in the civil service.

“The problem is, if you fire a lot of people. Those people will be jobless, and that means they can’t spend as they usually do and that in turn means that the economy suffers as a result.

“The point I’m trying to make is that if you don’t do that we are going to see similar very weak economic growth as we have been experiencing.

“It is bleak and we have to understand the reason we are where we are is weak political leadership. Politicians employ too many people and are not prepared to take those difficult political decisions and implement them,” said Roodt.

If you are in the Western Cape and in the market for a job in finance, insurance, real estate and business services such as accounting, design, maintenance, printing, and supply, then the first quarter of 2020 is going to be full of opportunities for you. However if you are in construction, be prepared for a lean year.

According to the latest Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey, South African employers report soft hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2020.

ManpowerGroup SA managing director Lyndy van den Barselaar said: “As we move into the new year, the South African economy continues to be affected by subdued economic growth and a sluggish growth outlook.

“Policy uncertainty and a high unemployment rate remain a deep concern for local businesses who are looking to the new year with caution when it comes to their spending and hiring strategies.”

Economist Mike Schussler predicted a sovereign downgrade by Moody’s and further issues with Eskom’s electricity supply.

“Things are tough. A modern economy works on electricity and without it we are going nowhere,” said Schussler.

The only bright spot Schussler could see was the fact that with SA Airways in business rescue and a new broom at Eskom, there was hope for economic improvement.

He said: “Next year won’t be easy, but we may have just turned the corner.”

Chief customer officer at Cape Town IT firm, Altron Karabina, James Hickman, said: “As the South African growth forecasts remain depressed with limited growth predicted in the year ahead, I foresee companies searching for value in what they already have and in effect turning every cent over twice while looking for efficiencies.”

All is not lost, according to Van den Barselaar: “The Western Cape government continues to focus on development in the region through several initiatives, such as one initiative that is focusing on diversifying the province’s energy mix through an uptake in sustainable energy sources.

“This could create employment for those with skills in developing, installing and maintaining these sustainable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic panels, for example.”

@MwangiGithahu

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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