Half a million people lost their jobs in 2020, says Stats SA — and earnings are down too

30 March 2021 - 14:01 By TimesLIVE
People in line to collect their R350 unemployment relief grant. Stats SA says 565,000 of the 594,000 people believed to have lost their jobs between December 2019 and December 2020 were full-time employees. File photo.
People in line to collect their R350 unemployment relief grant. Stats SA says 565,000 of the 594,000 people believed to have lost their jobs between December 2019 and December 2020 were full-time employees. File photo.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

More than 500,000 people lost their jobs between December 2019 and December 2020 when the country underwent different levels of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is according to Stats SA data released on Tuesday.

Stats SA said 565,000 of the 594,000 people believed to have lost their jobs during that period were full-time employees.

Many of those who remained employed were earning less.

“Year-on-year, total gross earnings decreased by R36.1bn or 4.6% between December 2019 and December 2020,” said Stats SA.

“Year-on-year, basic salaries or wages decreased by R22.9bn or 3.4% during the same period.”

However, there was a slight increase in salaries between September and December 2020, when the lockdown regulations were eased. During this three-month period, basic salaries or wages paid to employees increased by R18.6bn (3.0%) from R631.8bn in September 2020 to R650.4bn in December 2020.

“This was largely due to increases in the following industries: community services, business services, trade, manufacturing, construction, transport, mining and electricity.”

Meanwhile, they were fewer end-of-year bonuses paid out last year.

Stats SA said bonus and overtime payments decreased by R13.2bn between December 2019 and December 2020.

However, between September and December 2020, those who had returned to the job space increased their bonus and overtime earning. Stats SA recorded an increase from R48.8bn in bonus and overtime payment to R90.5bn in these three months.

“This was largely due to increases in the following industries: business services, trade, manufacturing, community services, transport, construction and electricity.”

TimesLIVE


X