Formal-sector job numbers recovery continues in last quarter of 2020

Total employment increased 0.8% quarter on quarter in the last three months of 2020, but was still well below pre-Covid-19 levels

30 March 2021 - 14:20 By Karl Gernetzky
The increase in total employment in the fourth quarter was led by the trade industry, which added 54,000 employees, and community services, which added 51,000. File photo.
The increase in total employment in the fourth quarter was led by the trade industry, which added 54,000 employees, and community services, which added 51,000. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Sebabatso Mosamo

Formal-sector nonfarm jobs and earnings continued their recovery in the fourth quarter of 2020, but remained well below pre-Covid-19 levels, while permanent positions were under more strain.

Stats SA’s latest quarterly employment statistics (QES) for the three months to end-December showed total employment rose 76,000, or 0.8%, quarter on quarter, but remained 5.8% lower year on year.

Part-time employment increased by 9.2%, or 87,000, from the prior three-month period, while full-time employment dipped 0.1%, or by 11,000.

The QES, released on Tuesday, measures employment in the formal, nonagriculture sector across 20,000 businesses, ranging from factories to government entities.

The QES is distinct from Stats SA’s quarterly labour force survey (QLFS), which is a household-based survey that includes informal workers as well as agriculture workers and domestic services.

Total gross earnings paid to employees increased by R60.3bn, or 8.9%, quarter on quarter to end-December, Stats SA said, but was still down R36bn, or 4.6%, year on year.

The increase in total employment in the fourth quarter was led by the trade industry, which added 54,000 employees, and community services, which added 51,000.

Construction saw an 18,000 decline in payrolls, and manufacturing 13,000.

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