Only 5 000 jobs created in last year, says Solidarity

2010-12-15 09:13

Only around 5 000 jobs in the formal sector were created in the last year, trade union Solidarity said today.

“Only 5 000 net jobs were created over the past year. At this rate it will take about 70 years for the damage of the recession to be undone,” Solidarity spokesperson Ilze Nieuwoudt said in a statement.

The prospects for job creation in the formal sector looked bleak, even though there had been an increase in job opportunities from July to September, according to Statistics SA.

The September 2010 Quarterly Employment Statistics survey released yesterday shows the number of people employed in the formal non-agricultural sector increased by 0.2% – or about 17 000 people compared to the previous quarter.

This comes in light of the government’s plan to create five million jobs within five years through its new growth path framework for South Africa.

Nieuwoudt said: “In September of this year there were 341 000 fewer job opportunities in the formal sector than in September 2008. The number of jobs therefore decreased by about 14 000 a month over the past two years.”

Statistics SA figures show there are now about 8.1 million jobs in the formal sector. The same sector had about 8.5 million jobs in the same quarter two years ago, said Nieuwoudt.

“The recession had a very negative impact on job opportunities in the formal sector. Although there are slight signs of recovery, the effect is still clearly visible.”

Although there was a strong improvement of 1.2% in the mining industry, this was not enough to make up for job losses over the past two years.

“In September 2008 there were about 532 000 formal workers in the mining industry – approximately 31 000 more than there are today,” she said.

“There are currently about 503,000 workers in this industry.”

She said the manufacturing industry lost about 41 000 jobs in the past year.

“Over the past quarter, 7 000 jobs were cut here.”

This sector provides work to more than 1.1 million people, 137 000 fewer than in September 2008.

The construction sector lost 12 000 jobs over the past year and 61 000 over the past two years.

The latest gross domestic product figures show very low growth in construction.

Solidarity blamed the government for delays in construction projects, Nieuwoudt said.

“Issues like maladministration, questionable tender processes and late payments contribute to problems in this regard.”

New jobs in some sectors were not meaningful, the union said, as they could be government-created.

“The government cannot simply continue to create new government jobs, as this approach is not a sign of progress in the economy and paints a distorted picture of the status of job creation in the country,” Nieuwoudt said.

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