SA gains 75 000 non-farm jobs in the third quarter

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Stats SA on Tuesday released the Quarterly Employment Survey for September. (Getty Images)
Stats SA on Tuesday released the Quarterly Employment Survey for September. (Getty Images)
  • Total jobs, non-agriculture related, increased by 75 000 during the third quarter, data from Stats SA shows.
  • The improvements in job levels coincide with the easing of lockdown restrictions.
  • Employment levels and gross earnings in September however are down on a year-on-year basis.

Non-agriculture related jobs increased by 75 000 during the third quarter, data from Stats SA shows.

Stats SA on Tuesday released the quarterly employment survey (QES) for the quarter ending in September – surveying private, non-agricultural businesses such as factories, firms, offices and stores as well as national, provincial and local government entities. It is different to the quarterly labour force survey which is household based and covers agricultural workers.

Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan expected the lift in the QES to coincide with the easing of lockdown restrictions. In a note issued before the release of the data, Kaplan said that while lockdown restrictions have eased, economic output is still below pre-Covid-19 levels. Third quarter GDP rebounded by 13.5% on a quarter-on-quarter, seasonally adjusted basis. Stats SA however pointed out that there was still a long way to go for production to reach pre-pandemic levels again, Fin24 previously reported.

"The employment statistics can be expected to reflect the effects of businesses adjusting to lower levels of demand," said Kaplan.

Total employment increased by 0.8% on a quarter-on-quarter basis from 9.50 million in June 2020 to 9.58 million in September 2020. Increases in jobs were recorded across certain industries such as trade, community services, construction and manufacturing. According to the data, the electricity industry showed no change in employment. Decreases were recorded for business services, transport and mining.

On a year-on-year basis, employment decreased by 6%, compared to September 2019.

Other data shows that on a quarter-on-quarter basis, full-time employment increased by 0.5% in September. However on a year-on-year basis, full-time employment declined 5.7% compared to September 2019.

Part-time employment increased by 3.1%, on a quarter-on-quarter basis. It however decreased by 8.8% on a year-on-year basis, compared to September 2019.


Gross earnings paid to employees also increased, by 5.5% on a quarter-on-quarter basis to R680.2 billion in September. Increases were recorded in the business services, trade, manufacturing, construction, community services, mining and electricity industries. The transport industry however reported a decrease.

On a year-on-year basis, total gross earnings decreased by 6.1% compared to September 2019.

Bonus and overtime paid to employees increased by 5.8% from R46 billion in June 2020 to R48.7 billion in September 2020, Stats SA said. This is attributed to increases in the business services, trade, manufacturing, construction and community services industries. Transport and electricity industries reported a decline.

On a year-on-year basis, bonus and overtime payments decreased by 20%, compared to September 2019.

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