Cape Town - The second quarter of 2016 saw a decline in jobs of 129 000, compared to the previous quarter, according to the latest quarterly labour force survey released by Statistics South Africa on Thursday.
“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.
Asked during question time if the decline in employment figures indicated a recession, Lehohla said 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 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.
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.