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2023-12-14 12:41 PM

South Africa’s Q3 2023 Employment Report Reveals Promising Growth

  • Earnings Growth: The Quarterly Employment Survey by Stats SA for Q3 2023 highlights a positive trend in earnings within South Africa's formal non-agricultural sector, indicating a 0.9% increase in quarter-on-quarter average monthly earnings and a notable 4.7% growth year-on-year.
  • Economic Expansion: Gross earnings, basic salary/wages, and bonus payments to employees exhibited increments, showcasing a 2.0% increase in gross earnings, a 2.0% rise in basic salary/wages, and a 3.7% surge in bonus payments. However, overtime payments experienced a slight decline of -1.6%.
  • Employment Trends: Employment figures depicted a modest 0.3% quarterly increase and a more substantial 2.6% year-on-year rise, yet the growth was inconsistent across industries. While sectors like community services, trade, and transport saw upticks in employment, others, such as business services, manufacturing, and construction, faced declines during the same period.
By Miriam Matoma


In a recent release of the Quarterly Employment Survey results by Stats SA, the economic landscape of South Africa for the third quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, culminating in September 2023, unfolded with nuanced shifts and modest growth in various sectors.

The report unveiled a slight 0.9% upswing in the quarter-on-quarter average monthly earnings for employees in the formal non-agricultural sector. From a revised R25,866 in May 2023, earnings marginally increased to R26,086 in August 2023, illustrating a gradual but encouraging trajectory.

Delving into the year-on-year statistics, the average monthly earnings exhibited a 4.7% surge, elevating from R24,916 in 2022. This positive growth signals incremental economic stability and potential for improved financial well-being among employees within this sector.

Gross earnings paid to employees soared by R16.7 billion or 2.0% from R833.6 billion in June 2023 to R850.2 billion in September 2023. This uptick was predominantly propelled by expansions in industries such as business services, community services, mining, manufacturing, electricity, and construction. Conversely, sectors like transport and trade experienced decreases during this period.

Year-on-year comparisons highlighted a notable increase of R51.6 billion or 6.5% in gross earnings between September 2022 and September 2023, indicating a robust upward trajectory in the economy.

Basic salary and wages for employees mirrored a similar pattern, increasing by R15.2 billion or 2.0% from R759 billion in June 2023 to R774.3 billion in September 2023. Industries including community services, business services, mining, manufacturing, transport, trade, construction, and electricity contributed to this increment.

Year-on-year analysis showed a substantial rise of R44.9 billion or 6.2% in basic salary and wages between September 2022 and September 2023, showcasing sustained growth in this aspect of employee compensation.

Bonus payments to employees depicted a mixed scenario, registering an increase of R1.8 billion or 3.7% from R49.2 billion in June 2023 to R51 billion in September 2023. While business services and community services experienced growth, industries like transport, trade, manufacturing, construction, and electricity faced declines in bonus disbursements. Nonetheless, the year-on-year comparison revealed an overall increase of R4.4 billion or 9.5% in bonus payments between September 2022 and September 2023.

Conversely, overtime payments to employees observed a decrease of R408 million or -1.6% from R25.4 billion in June 2023 to R25 billion in September 2023. This decline primarily stemmed from reductions in trade, manufacturing, community services, electricity, and transport sectors. Nevertheless, business services and construction reported a quarterly uptick in overtime payments. Year-on-year assessments highlighted an increase of R2.2 billion or 9.7% in overtime payments between September 2022 and September 2023, depicting a varied trend from the quarterly analysis.

Employment figures from the survey unveiled a marginal but promising growth of 31,000 jobs or 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, escalating from 10,145,000 in June 2023 to 10,176,000 in September 2023. Notably, the surge was primarily fueled by expansions in community services (42,000 or 1.4%), trade (4,000 or 0.2%), transport (2,000 or 0.5%), and mining (2,000 or 0.4%) sectors. However, industries like business services (-7,000 or -0.3%), manufacturing (-7,000 or -0.6%), and construction (-5,000 or -1.0%) experienced declines during this period. The electricity sector remained unchanged.

Looking at the year-on-year comparison, the report highlighted a significant increase of 256,000 jobs or 2.6% between September 2022 and September 2023, reflecting a positive trend in overall employment growth.

This latest Quarterly Employment Survey provides critical insights into South Africa’s economic progress, showcasing both areas of growth and those that require attention. As the nation navigates the intricacies of economic recovery and stability, these statistics serve as a compass guiding policymakers, businesses, and stakeholders toward informed decisions for sustained growth and enhanced employment opportunities.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam