More than 80 000 formal jobs lost in the second quarter

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Photo: Getty
  • New data shows that the number of people employed in the formal, non-agricultural sector fell by 86 000 from the first to the second quarter, to around 9.57 million.
  • But there were 60 000 more people employed than in June 2020.
  • Basic salary and wages increased by 9% in the year to June 2021, while bonus and overtime payments increased by 33%.


From the first to the second quarter, the number of people employed in the formal, non-agricultural sector fell by 86 000 to around 9.57 million, the latest Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) survey released by Statistics South Africa showed on Tuesday.

But by end June this year, there were 60 000 more people employed than in June 2020, when South Africa started to emerge from a hard lockdown.

Source: Statistics SA

Compared to the first quarter, employment in community services (65 000 fewer positions, or -2,3%), manufacturing (-15 000) and construction (-7 000) saw the biggest declines. But the mining sector employed 2 000 more people, and the transport industry increased employment by 1 000.

Full-time employment decreased by 17 000 positions (to 8.6 million) between the first and second quarters this year, while part-time employment fell by 59 000 to 991 000.

Last month, Statistics SA reported the official employment data – which, unlike the QES survey, also include informal and agricultural jobs –  showed a record unemployment rate of 34.4%, or 7.8 million jobless people. This is the highest unemployment rate recorded since the survey started in 2008.

Commenting on the QES data, Don Consultancy Group chief economist Chifi Mhango said the current employment trends suggest that not enough jobs are being created in high-impact sectors of the South African economy such as construction and manufacturing.

"This is worrisome, and clearly demonstrates lack of new business activity," Mhango said.

"Although recent manufacturing PMI and industrial production data has suggested some path to economic recovery, it’s not translating to massive job creation for the South African economy," Mhango added. 

Pay trends

While total employee earnings remained flat between the first and second quarter, earnings were almost 11% higher in June 2021 than in June 2020, the latest data showed.

Source: Statistics SA

Basic salary and wages increased by 9% in the year to June 2021, while bonus and overtime payments increased by 33%.

Year-on-year, average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector increased by almost 10%.

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