The results of the Quarterly Employment Survey for the first quarter of 2017 released by Statistics South Africa today, show a decline of 48 000 jobs (or -0.5%) to 9 644 000  in the formal non-agricultural sector in the quarter ended in March 2017.  This is a decline of 58 000 jobs when compared to the same period last year (March 2016).

Quarterly employment declines were mainly driven by trade and finance & business service which lost 32 000 jobs (-1,5%) and 23 000 jobs respectively. Additional jobs losses were also observed in community and social services with 8 000 jobs (-0,3%), manufacturing industry with 4 000 jobs (-0,3%) and transport industry with 1000 jobs (-0,2%).

However there were increases in employment observed in the construction industry with 12 000 jobs (2,0%) and mining industry with 8 000 jobs (1,8%).

Gross earnings and average monthly earnings

Total earnings paid to employees declined by R19 billion (-3.2%) to R588 billion in March 2017. However, this is R33 billion higher compared to the same period of last year (March 2016).

The decrease in gross earnings was led by manufacturing industry with R7,1 billion (-10,4%) quarter-to-quarter, followed by trade industry with R6 billion (-6,5%), community services industry with R4,5 billion (-2,4%), construction industry with R4,4 billion (-13,9%); transport industry with R3,1 billion (-8,7%) and electricity industry with R1,2 billion (-14,4%).

However there was a quarter-to-quarter increase in gross earnings from the finance & business services industry with R6,8 billion (4,5%) and mining industry with R5 million (0,02%).

There was a quarter-on-quarter increase of 0,8% in average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector from R18 536 in November 2016 to R18 687 in February 2017. On an annual basis, average monthly earnings paid to employees increased by 8,3% from R17 262 in February 2016 to R18 687 in February 2017.


Issued by Statistics South Africa

For media enquiries contact:

Lesedi Dibakwane

(012) 310 8578

082 805 7088


For technical enquires contact:

Dr Kefiloe Masiteng

Deputy Director-General: Population and Social Statistics

Tel: 012 310 2109

Email: KefiloeM@statssa.gov.za

Mr Peter Buwembo

Chief Director: Labour Statistics

Tel:  012 310 8655

Email: Peterb@statssa.gov.za