Jobs lost not gained in festive season

2013-02-06 00:00

WHILE the festive season typically encourages spending sprees on the part of shoppers, job-seekers appear to have had a torrid holiday season.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the fourth quarter of 2012 released by Statistics South Africa yesterday found that the number of people employed in the country declined by 68 000 quarter on quarter.

The country’s unemployment rate stood at 24,9% in the fourth quarter of 2012. Job losses were most prevalent in the formal sector and in private households.

While the Eastern Cape was the hardest hit province with a decline of 69 000 between the third and fourth quarter of 2012, KZN suffered 40 000 job losses over the quarter.

KZN’s unemployment rate was 22,5% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 21,3% in the third quarter of 2012.

The manufacturing sector in KZN was particularly hard hit — losing 31 000 jobs in the quarter — while the trade sector shed 27 000 jobs.

A total of 5 000 jobs were created by the construction sector in KZN in the fourth quarter of 2012. The finance sector in KZN created 4 000 jobs during the quarter.

There were almost 2,5 million people employed in the province, and more than 13,5 million people employed in the country as at the end of 2012.

The survey showed the fourth quarter — usually a period associated with higher employment levels — showed a decrease in 2012.

“It is the first time since the inception of the QLFS that there is a decrease in employment in the fourth quarter of a year,” Statistics SA said.

Standard Bank economist Shireen Darmalingam warned that the private sector would not create a sizeable number of jobs in 2013, particularly given the recent labour unrest affecting mining and agriculture.

She predicted employment in 2013 will be negatively impacted by companies laying off employees due to higher input costs and labour costs.

“Of concern is that the [manufacturing] sector — that is the second-largest contributor to GDP has shed the second most jobs this year so far,” she said. Manufacturing contributes 15% to SA’s GDP.

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