Media Release: Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES), first quarter 2016

Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES), first quarter 2016


According to the Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) for the first quarter of 2016 released by Statistics South Africa today, employment in the formal non-agricultural sector of the South African economy decreased by 0,2% (15 000 employees) to 9 273 000 in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the previous quarter (4th quarter, 2015).


Employment decreased in all industries except for community services, construction, and electricity. The largest percentage decrease was recorded in trade (-1,8%), followed by transport (-1,1%), mining (-0,9), manufacturing (-0,7%), and business services (-0,4%).  Electricity, gas and water supply industry recorded no change in employment levels between the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. The community services and construction industries recorded increased levels of employment over the same period, increasing by 1,7% and 0,6% respectively.


A sub-industry analysis finds that the quarterly decline in the number of people employed in the trade industry was largely driven by declines in employee numbers in retail trade and hotels & restaurants, which recorded declines of 27 000 and 7 000 respectively.


Employment in the mining industry declined for a sixth consecutive quarter. In the first quarter of 2016, the number of employees in mining declined by 4 000 employees, following a decline of 17 000 employees observed in the fourth quarter of 2015.


Gross earnings


For the quarter ended March 2016, employee gross earnings decreased by 4% (R22 billion) from R545 billion in the last quarter of 2015 to R523 billion. Decreases in gross earnings were recorded in all industries with the exception of the business services industry – earnings in this industry increased by 2,7% (R3,7 billion) to R141 billion in the first quarter of 2016, from R137 billion in the last quarter of 2015.

The changes in gross earnings in all industries can be largely attributed to base effects which arose due to bonuses and overtime payments paid in the previous quarter (December 2015).


Average monthly earnings


Average monthly earnings, including bonuses and overtime payments, for all industries in the formal non-agricultural sector of the economy remained at R17 422 in February 2016 compared with November 2015. Declines in average monthly earnings by industry were observed in electricity (-3,7%), mining (-3,2%), construction (-2,1%), manufacturing (-1,3%) and community (-0,1%).


Increases in average monthly earnings including bonuses and overtime payments were observed in trade and finance, with 1,1% and 1,4% respectively.




Issued by Statistics South Africa


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