Although the latest employment data release on Tuesday by Statistics SA shows that the number of employed people increased during the last quarter of 2020, the news is not all good.

More than half a million full-time jobs were lost during last year, while gross earnings also declined.

The horrible impact of Covid-19 on employment is becoming clearer after the latest employment statistics were released by Statistics SA, with 565,000 people losing their jobs year-on-year between December 2019 and December 2020.

Fourth quarter of 2020

According to the data, the total number of employed people increased from 9.56 million to 9.64 million from September to December 2020, an increase of 76,000. This was largely due to employment increases in these industries:

  • trade jobs grew by 54,000 jobs
  • community services grew by 51,000 jobs
  • business services added 4000 jobs.

There was no quarterly change in the electricity industry and decreases in these industries:

  • construction lost 18,000 jobs
  • manufacturing lost 13,000 jobs
  • transport lost 1000 jobs
  • mining lost 1000 jobs.

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Full-time employment

Full-time employment decreased by 11,000 jobs quarter-on-quarter, from 8,621,000 in September 2020 to 8,610,000 in December 2020, largely due to decreases in these industries:

  • construction lost 17,000 jobs
  • manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs
  • business services lost 14,000 jobs
  • transport lost 3000 jobs
  • mining and quarrying lost 1000 jobs.

The electricity industry reported no quarterly change, but trade gained 28,000 jobs and community services 11,000 jobs.

Part-time employment

Part-time employment increased by 87,000 jobs quarter-on-quarter, from 943,000 in September to 1,030,000 in December 2020, mainly because of more employment opportunities in these industries:

  • community services gained 40,000 jobs
  • trade added 26,000 jobs
  • business services grew with 18,000 jobs
  • manufacturing added 2000 jobs
  • transport gained 2000 jobs.

The electricity industry reported no change here either, but the construction industry lost another 1000 jobs.

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Part-time employment decreased by 29,000 jobs year-on-year between December 2019 and December 2020, with total gross earnings paid to employees increasing by R60.3 billion from R680.6 billion in September 2020 to R740.9 billion in December 2020.

This was largely due to increases in business services, trade, community services, manufacturing, transport, construction, electricity, mining and quarrying.

However, total gross earnings decreased by R36.1 billion between December 2019 and December 2020. Basic salary or wages paid to employees increased by R18.6 billion from R631.8 billion in September 2020 to R650.4 billion in December 2020 due to increases in community services, business services, trade, manufacturing, construction, transport, mining and electricity.

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Basic salary or wages also decreased by R22.9 billion between December 2019 and December 2020. Bonus and overtime payments to employees increased by R41.7 billion from R48.8 billion in September to R90.5 billion in December 2020 thanks to increases in business services, trade, manufacturing, community services, transport, construction and electricity.

Bonus and overtime payments also decreased by R13.2 billion between December 2019 and December 2020. An increase of 2,4% in average monthly earnings was paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector, from R22,588 in August to R23,133 in November 2020. Year-on-year, average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector increased by 3.1%.

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