Jobless 14year high re­mains un­changed

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Kabelo Khu­malo

SOUTH Africa’s unem­ploy­ment in the sec­ond quar­ter re­mained steady at a 14-year high of 27.7 per­cent with 113 000 for­mal jobs lost.

Data from Sta­tis­tics South Africa (Stat­sSA) yes­ter­day re­vealed that only 80 000 jobs were cre­ated in the in­for­mal sec­tor dur­ing the pe­riod, push­ing unem­ploy­ment static quar­ter-on-quar­ter up to 1.1 per­cent com­pared to the sim­i­lar pe­riod last year.

Stat­sSA said em­ploy­ment in con­struc­tion, com­mu­nity and so­cial ser­vices as well as min­ing con­tracted year-onyear with min­i­mal growth only recorded in fi­nance and other busi­ness ser­vices, util­i­ties and trade.

The agency said the largest em­ploy­ment gains were recorded in the trade sec­tor, which added 39 000 more peo­ple, fol­lowed by man­u­fac­tur­ing with 37 000 and com­mu­nity and so­cial ser­vices with 23 000 jobs.

It said jobs in agri­cul­ture, which had seen growth in the past, de­creased by 40 000 while pri­vate house­holds shed 8 000 peo­ple dur­ing the pe­riod.

Maarten Ack­er­man, a chief economist at Ci­tadel, said the data showed that the fu­ture re­mained bleak.

Job cuts

“If one con­sid­ers all the po­ten­tial job cuts an­nounced re­cently by big min­ing com­pa­nies on the back of the Min­ing Char­ter and re­quired re­struc­tur­ings as well as re­tail­ers such as Pick n Pay – once again, this is a re­flec­tion that the econ­omy and com­pa­nies are tak­ing the strain,” Ack­er­man said.

Last week, SA Re­serve Bank gov­er­nor Le­setja Kganyago told leg­is­la­tors that re­ces­sion in South Africa could deepen fur­ther if pol­icy cer­tainty is not forth­com­ing in min­ing and agri­cul­ture, the only two sec­tors to have shown growth so far this year.

Stat­sSA said ex­panded def­i­ni­tion of unem­ploy­ment, which in­cludes peo­ple who have stopped look­ing for work, rose slightly to 36.6 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter, from 36.4 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous pe­riod.

It said the largest losses were recorded in Gaut­eng and East­ern Cape, while Lim­popo and KwaZulu-Na­tal em­ploy­ment gained 32 000 and 29 000 jobs re­spec­tively.

The agency said the Western Cape and North West were the only prov­inces that recorded year-on-year de­clines in the unem­ploy­ment rate.

El­ize Kruger, an an­a­lyst at NKC African Eco­nom­ics, said lack­lus­tre eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity cur­rently char­ac­ter­is­ing the econ­omy was un­able to sus­tain the job mar­ket.

Kruger said that height­ened po­lit­i­cal and pol­icy un­cer­tain­ties had also im­pacted neg­a­tively on the over­all econ­omy of South Africa.

PHOTO: HENK KRUGER

South African to­tal unem­ploy­ment fig­ures at present stand at 36.6 per­cent.

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