Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the first quarter of 2013 were released on 28 May 2013, at a press conference in Sandton, which included key stakeholders from other institutions.
The much anticipated release drew wide reaction from various market watchers, while the media appreciated Stats SA’s initiative of taking data to them. “This is how we are going to release our numbers now. We have to interact more with the users,” said Mr Lehohla.
Stats SA’s GDP figures, which increased by 0,9% during the first quarter of 2013, appeared to catch commentators off guard.
The increase is lower than the increase of 2,1% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The main contributors to the increase in economic activity in the first quarter of 2013 were mining and quarrying, finance, real estate and business services which each contributed 0,7%.
General government services contributed 0,3%, and wholesale, retail, motor trade, catering, accommodation industry, transport, storage and communication each contributed 0,2%.
On the other hand the industries which experienced a decline were manufacturing, which had the largest decline at -1,2%, agriculture, forestry and fishing, electricity, gas and water each contributing -0,1%.
As manufacturing is one of the largest producers of job opportunities in the country, the 2,9% drop in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, could result in a large number of job losses in the country.
With the GDP not performing as well as anticipated in the first quarter, there could be a negative impact on the country’s economy and its levels of development.
“Although the economic growth was slow in the first quarter, it may well pick up in the second and third quarters; analysts should be wary of basing predictions for the rest of the year on the first quarter results,” said DDG Joe De Beer.