South African economy gains formal jobs in fourth quarter

Figures from the Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) survey showed that South Africa’s formal non-agricultural sector added 81 000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2017, bringing the total number of persons employed in the formal non-agricultural to 9,8 million. The QES also showed formal sector jobs rise by 18 000 in the fourth quarter compared with the same period of 2016.


Employment in the trade industries continued to trend up in the fourth quarter, adding 56 000 jobs. Growth in employment was also reported by the business services industry which added 23 000 jobs, and the community services industry was up by 21 000 jobs. Moderate gains were reported in the manufacturing industry with a slight increase of 3 000 jobs in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the construction and mining industries shed 19 000 and 7 000 jobs, respectively, whilst the transport industry reported a moderate loss of 3 000 jobs.

Gross earnings paid for the quarter ended December 2017 increased by R45 billion. The total amount of gross earnings measured for the quarter was R662 billion. This is up from R618 billion in the previous quarter. There was a 3,8% year-on-year increase in earnings in the current quarter compared with December 2016, amounting to R24 billion.

The increase in earnings was dominated by the trade industry with R11 billion. This was followed by the community services industry with R9 billion, the manufacturing industry with R8 billion, the business services industry with R7 billion, the transport industry with R6 billion and the construction industry with R4 billion.

Earnings in the electricity industry decreased by R390 million and in the mining and quarrying industry by R60 million.

Average monthly earnings were measured at R20 004 in the formal non-agricultural sector of the economy in November 2017. This is a 0,7% increase when compared to August 2017, and an annual increase of 6,8%.