More SA job losses reported in May - survey

More people reported losing their jobs after South Africa extended its lockdown in May, according to a survey carried out in the first week of May.

The poll, conducted by credit bureau Transunion, found that 14% people reported job losses compared to 10% when the company conducted the same survey in early April, just after South Africa went on lockdown.

The company, with help of a third-party research firm, conducted an online survey with 1 005 adults in the week that ended on 11 May.

It said, based on three surveys it has conducted since the lockdown – two in April and one in early May – roughly one in six people now report that they have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

In addition to those who lost their jobs, nearly 4 in 10 (37%) of the respondents said their work hours have been reduced because of the pandemic. In the first week of April, 32% reported reduced work hours.

"The pandemic is creating major economic and financial distress for consumers, with many jobs in the South African economy already being impacted or at risk due to drastic demand shifts," said TransUnion Africa CEO, Lee Naik.

Transunion said Mpumalanga is the most affected province, with reported job loss in the province increasing to 26% in early May from 12% since the survey started in South Africa in April. About 27% of the people who participated in the survey said they owned a small business and have had to close while those who remained open said orders dried up.

Because of this, the number of consumers who have taken up debt repayment holidays increased to 16%. Businesses that offer subscriptions services, home improvement companies, the hospitality industry and car manufacturers will feel the impact of these job losses the most as these are among the top items consumers are crossing off their budget and plans to survive their new reality.

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