Unemployment on the rise

2010-06-22 10:01

Employment fell sharply between April and May 2010, representing a

yearly decline of 6.2% during the month, according to the latest Adcorp

Employment Index released today.

The employment services company’s CEO, Richard Pike, said: “The

completion of many construction and infrastructure related projects associated

with the Fifa World Cup has exacerbated the fall.”

Although employment fell across all job types, it declined most

sharply in the highly cyclical construction (10.2%) and trade (9.2%)


The decline in the construction and trade sectors reflected the

ending of public infrastructure projects, as well as the continued weakness in

consumer spending.

Pike said: “We have seen employment fall across all job types and

particularly among low-skilled and semi-skilled workers, who are typically

employed in the construction and trade sectors, which saw a 10.1% and 7.4% fall


Amongst permanent, full-time staff, the trend – in evidence since

2001 – continued its decline, with employment in this category falling


Notable was the number of South Africans returning from


“High unemployment in the world’s major English-speaking countries

is the primary factor,” said Pike.

According to him, the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New

Zealand lost 9.1 million jobs during the recent recession: “A secondary factor

is the ‘homecoming revolution’ fuelled by disillusionment in emigrants’ foreign


Finance (28%), medical (16%), academic/teaching (13%) and legal

(9%) professionals constituted the highest proportion of returnees.

Roughly 39 000 South African job-seekers returned from foreign

countries over the past year, representing 13.7% of those who left the country

to find work since 1990.

On account of South Africa’s skills shortage, unemployment for

highly skilled professionals was just 1.4%. He said the number of returnees was

likely to rise to 120 000 as foreign short-term work contracts expired.

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