The Citizen (KZN)

Unemployme­nt still spirals

GLOOMY: 194 000 JOBS LOST IN THE NONAGRICUL­TURAL SECTOR AT THE END OF LAST YEAR Decrease from 10 899 000 employed people in September.

- Ina Opperman

South Africa’s formal nonagricul­tural employment sector lost 194 000 jobs during the fourth quarter of 2023, bringing the level of employment to 10.7 million people. Only 98 000 jobs were added between December 2022, and December 2023.

According to the quarterly employment statistics for the fourth quarter, released by Statistics South Africa, the decline in the total number of employees is a decrease from 10 899 000 employed people in September to 10 705 000 in December 2023.

The community services industry saw the highest number of job losses at 214 000, followed by the constructi­on industry’s loss of 19 000 jobs and the business services industry’s 12 000. The mining sector reported a moderate decrease, with 1 000 job losses.

But there were industries that experience­d growth. The trade industry saw an increase of 56 000 jobs, trailed by the transport industry, which added 2 00 jobs, and the electricit­y industry that added 1 000 jobs.

During the fourth quarter, full-time employment decreased by 5 000 jobs, dropping from 9 498 000 people employed full-time in the third quarter to 9 493 000 in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Statistics SA said several industries witnessed declines in full-time employment:

▶ The constructi­on sector lost 13 000 jobs;

▶ The manufactur­ing industry lost 12 000 jobs; and

▶ The community services industry lost 11 000 jobs.

▶ However, some industries also reported increases in jobs:

▶ The trade industry reported an increase of 31 000 jobs;

▶ The transport industry added 3 000 jobs; and

▶ The electricit­y industry added 1 000 jobs.

Year-on-year, the number of fulltime jobs increased by 12 000 in December 2023, compared to December 2022.

Part-time employment decreased by 189 000 jobs in the fourth quarter, reaching a total of 1 212 000 people who were employed part-time in December 2023, compared to 1 401 000 in September 2023.

Statistics SA says this decrease was mainly driven by job losses in:

▶ Community services with 203 000 jobs lost;

▶ Business services lost 9 000 jobs;

▶ The constructi­on industry that lost 6 000 jobs; and

▶ The transport industry that reported a loss of 1 000 jobs.

However, certain industries experience­d an increase in part-time employment:

▶ The trade industry added 25 000 jobs,

▶ The manufactur­ing industry added 5 000 jobs; and

▶ The electricit­y industry remained unchanged for the quarter.

Year-on-year, the number of part-time jobs increased by 86 000 in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. Employees’ total gross earnings increased by 5.8%, totalling R995.6 billion in December, compared to R941.3 billion in September 2023.

This upswing was primarily driven by the growth in earnings in the trade industry where earnings increased by R15.1 billion, manufactur­ing where it increased by 12.6 billion, constructi­on where it increased by R7.3 billion, business services where it increased by R7.1 billion, community services where the increase was R5.8 billion, transport with R4.7 billion, electricit­y with R1.8 billion and mining with R216 million.

Employees’ average monthly earnings increased by 1.6% in the fourth quarter, compared to the third quarter, from R26 471 in August 2023, to R26 894 in November 2023. Average monthly earnings grew by 2.3% year-on-year. –

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