The labour force which is made up of the working
age population who are either employed or unemployed declined by 259 000
from 21,3 million in 2015 to 21,1 million in 2020. Growth in the working age
population was significantly stronger than growth in the labour force in 2020
compared to 2015. This led to a decrease in the labour force participation rate
of 5,4 percentage points, to 53,9% between 2015 and 2020.
The number of employed persons decreased by 679 000, from
15,7 million to 15,1 million in 2020, with ten industries contributing to this
decrease. The largest decrease was recorded in Construction (241 000), Manufacturing (234 000), and
Private households (129 000). Finance and Transport were the only industries
which recorded employment gains between 2015 and 2020 by 176 000 and
20 000 respectively.
Median monthly earnings of employees increased
from R3 100 in 2015 to R4 000 in 2020. Gender, population group and
age continue to be drivers of the earnings inequalities. In 2020, the highest
median monthly earnings were recorded among employees in Mining (R10 000) and
Utilities (R8 500) industries. Median job tenure increased from 44 months in
2015 to 49 months in 2020. The median job
tenure for women and men increased to 51 and 48 months in 2020.
The number of employed persons decreased by 679 000, from 15,7
million to 15,1 million and the number of unemployed increased by 939 000
persons from 5,3 million to 6,3 million; this resulted in an increase in the
unemployment rate by 4,1 percentage
points from 25,3% in 2015 to 29,4% in 2020. In 2020, the absorption rate was
38,5% and the labour force participation rate of 54,6% was the lowest rate recorded since 2015. Young people remain vulnerable in the labour
market relative to adults; with high unemployment rates and low absorption
and low participation rates. The youth unemployment rate increased from
35,8% in 2015 to 42,1% in 2020, while the adult unemployment rate
increased from 16,3% in 2015 to 20,2% in 2020.
In 2020, approximately 93,0% of employed persons remained employed
between quarter 3 and quarter 4, while 90,5% of the inactive population
remained inactive in 2015 and 86,1% in 2020. The unemployment retention rates
increased over the period from 67,5% in 2015 to 70,6% in 2020. The results from
panel data indicated that the employed and the inactive population were more
likely to retain their labour force status. During 2020, about 11,9% of the
unemployed found employment between Q3 and Q4 while only 5,9% of those who were
discouraged found employment during the same period.