Employment levels back to pre-recession peak but absorption rate lower

Employment levels back to pre-recession peak but absorption rate lower

QLFS_Q32013_dataStoryEmployment levels at 14 million in Q3: 2013 are now back to the Q4: 2008 peak. The working age population however, has increased by 2,3 million over the period Q4: 2008 to Q3: 2013 such that the percentage of South Africans aged 15-64 years with jobs (the absorption rate) has declined from 45,0% in Q4: 2008 to 41,9% in Q3: 2013.

Quarter-to-quarter employment increased by 308 000 in Q3: 2013, while the number of job-seekers declined by 114 000. As a result, the official unemployment rate declined by 0,9 of a percentage point to 24,7%. Discouraged work seekers decreased by 125 000 and based on the expanded definition, the unemployment rate declined by 1,2 percentage points to 35,6%.

The expansion in employment was driven by growth in the formal sector, where quarter-to-quarter job gains were 314 000. On the other hand, the informal sector shed 39 000 jobs in this period.

The quarter-to-quarter results show that Trade, Community and Finance and other business services were the largest contributors to the 308 000 net gain in employment. Trade gained 100 000 jobs in Q3: 2013, as employment in the industry reached 3 million in line with employment levels last seen in Q1: 2012. Community and social services gained 96 000 jobs with 3,1 million persons employed in the sector and accounting for 22,4% of total employment. Finance gained 92 000 jobs bringing the number of employed persons in the industry to 1,9 million.

Jobs of a permanent nature increased by 212 000 quarter-to quarter while those on contracts of a limited or  unspecified duration rose by 249 000. This may suggest that some of the job gains observed in the quarter may be temporary in nature.

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