Statistics SA Says SA Shed More Jobs In The Second Quarter

The second quarter of the year has seen more jobs being shed by South Africa’s formal sector than was the case in the first quarter according to the latest quarterly labour force survey released by Statistics SA on Thursday.

The Statistics SA survey shows that the second quarter of 2016 saw a decline in jobs of 129 000, compared to the first quarter which reported only 15 000 jobs shed.

Though this represents a sign of economic improvement, it is a fact that unemployment in SA is still on the high side, falling just 0.1 of a percentage point to 26.6% which also means that about 5.6-million people were unemployed.

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Statistician-general Pali Lehohla also pointed out that the latest jobs data exposes the difficult economic situation facing SA.

“This decline comes after 60 months of positive growth in jobs, although it had been fluctuating from quarter to quarter,” statistician-general Pali Lehohla said.

“The question that has to be asked is, are the strategies adequate to deal with this matter (unemployment) … and what is to be done?”

The quarterly labour force survey showed that the contraction of the economy in the first quarter of this year played a significant role in the employment figures in subsequent quarters.

There was also an increase in the number of insolvencies since the third quarter of 2015, which also contributed to job losses.

When asked during question time if the decline in employment figures indicated a recession, Lehohla explained that it was difficult to say. “We’re using a rear view mirror to look into the future. If there’s going to be a recession you’ll know about it when we get there.”

The services industry, including public administration, health and social work, as well as recreational, cultural and sporting activities, shed the biggest number of jobs at 127 000 from the previous quarter.

After an increase of 250 000 formal sector jobs in the fourth quarter of last year, employment fell for two consecutive quarters in 2016 – by 197 000 and 66 000, respectively.
Statistics SA further revealed that the largest job losses in the first quarter were recorded in the trade sector‚ followed by transport‚ mining‚ manufacturing‚ and business services. The second quarter had Jobs increased in manufacturing, private households (which includes domestic work) and construction increased, the survey showed.

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