South Africa’s Employment Rollercoaster

  • Mixed Employment Trends: South Africa's latest Quarterly Employment Statistics report reveals a mixed picture in 2023. While overall employment increased by 39,000 jobs, driven by growth in sectors like community services and business services, there were significant job losses in manufacturing and transport.
  • Part-Time Job Surge: The report also highlights a surge in part-time employment, with 64,000 new jobs added quarter-on-quarter. This growth was primarily in community services, business services, and construction, signaling a shift in employment patterns.
  • Earnings and Bonuses: South African workers experienced fluctuations in earnings and bonuses. While gross earnings increased, bonuses decreased significantly, affecting industries like business services and manufacturing. Overtime pay, however, saw a notable rise, reflecting changes in compensation trends.
Employment up by 0.4%

South Africa’s economic landscape has seen both ups and downs in 2023, according to the latest Quarterly Employment Statistics report released by Statistics South Africa. The report, which provides a comprehensive overview of the country’s employment situation, reveals interesting trends across various industries, including community services, business services, mining, electricity, manufacturing, transport, trade, construction, and more.

Quarterly Employment Figures

The report highlights that employment in South Africa increased by 39,000 jobs or 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, rising from 10,039,000 in March 2023 to 10,078,000 in June 2023. The increase can be attributed to growth in community services (40,000 jobs or 1.4%), business services (12,000 jobs or 0.5%), mining (2,000 jobs or 0.4%), and electricity (1,000 jobs or 1.7%). However, several sectors saw decreases in employment, including manufacturing (-10,000 jobs or -0.8%), transport (-3,000 jobs or -0.7%), trade (-2,000 jobs or -0.1%), and construction (-1,000 jobs or -0.2%).

On a year-on-year basis, total employment increased by 104,000 jobs or 1.0% between June 2022 and June 2023. However, full-time employment decreased by 25,000 jobs or -0.3% quarter-on-quarter, with the most significant drops seen in community services (-11,000 jobs or -0.5%), manufacturing (-10,000 jobs or -0.9%), construction (-6,000 jobs or -1.4%), and transport (-1,000 jobs or -0.3%).

Part-Time Employment Surges

While full-time employment faced challenges, part-time employment surged, increasing by 64,000 jobs or 5.2% quarter-on-quarter. This increase, from 1,223,000 in March 2023 to 1,287,000 in June 2023, was primarily driven by growth in community services (51,000 jobs or 8.6%), business services (12,000 jobs or 5.2%), construction (5,000 jobs or 7.1%), and electricity (1,000 jobs or 100.0%). The manufacturing industry reported no quarterly change, but trade (-3,000 jobs or -1.3%) and transport (-2,000 jobs or -11.8%) saw decreases in part-time employment.

Year-on-year, part-time employment increased by a substantial 150,000 jobs or 13.2% between June 2022 and June 2023.

A Glimpse into Pre-Pandemic Employment

The report also offers insights into employment figures in industries before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Encouragingly, three out of eight industries—mining, manufacturing, and community services—have returned to pre-pandemic employment levels, signifying a gradual recovery in these sectors.

Earnings and Bonuses

The report doesn’t just focus on employment numbers; it also delves into earnings and bonuses. Gross earnings paid to employees increased by R3.6 billion or 0.4%, reaching R832.4 billion in June 2023, up from R828.7 billion in March 2023. This growth was mainly driven by increases in community services, trade, transport, construction, manufacturing, and mining. However, business services and electricity reported decreases in gross earnings.

Year-on-year, total gross earnings increased by a substantial R42.9 billion or 5.4% between June 2022 and June 2023.

Basic salary and wages paid to employees also saw an increase, rising by R19.3 billion or 2.6% from R738.5 billion in March 2023 to R757.8 billion in June 2023. Increases in basic salary and wages were seen across several industries, including community services, business services, trade, manufacturing, construction, transport, and mining. The electricity industry, however, reported a quarterly decrease.

Year-on-year, basic salary and wages increased by R38.6 billion or 5.4% between June 2022 and June 2023.

On the other hand, bonuses paid to employees decreased by R17.7 billion or -26.4%, falling from R66.9 billion in March 2023 to R49.3 billion in June 2023. This decline was primarily due to decreases in business services, manufacturing, community services, and electricity. However, the transport, trade, and construction industries saw increases in bonus payments.

Year-on-year, bonus payments increased by R2.1 billion or 4.4% between June 2022 and June 2023.

Overtime and Earnings Increase

Overtime paid to employees increased by R2.0 billion or 8.7%, reaching R25.4 billion in June 2023, up from R23.3 billion in March 2023. This increase was driven by growth in manufacturing, business services, transport, trade, construction, and electricity. However, the community services industry reported a quarterly decrease.

Year-on-year, overtime payments increased by R2.3 billion or 10.1% between June 2022 and June 2023.

Finally, average monthly earnings showed a quarter-on-quarter increase of 2.8%, rising from R25,274 in February 2023 to R25,994 in May 2023. Year-on-year, average monthly earnings increased by 5.4%.

The latest Quarterly Employment Statistics report provides a comprehensive overview of South Africa’s employment and earnings landscape, offering valuable insights into the nation’s economic health and the trends shaping its various industries. These statistics are of significant interest to those closely following developments in financial services, credit, lending, personal finance, and the broader economic environment.

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