Vehicle industry employment levels remain under pressure

Motor vehicle industry employment levels remained under pressure during the first quarter of 2009, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said on Friday.

The association released its quarterly review of business conditions for the first quarter of 2009, as submitted to the director general of the department of trade and industry.

Compared to the 34 963 positions at the end of 2008, aggregate industry employment declined by 2 571 jobs during the first quarter of 2009 to 32 392 jobs, Naamsa said.

It added that this was “a result of downsizing and operational adjustments at most of the industry’s assembly operations”.

According to the association, only one company slightly increased headcount with the balance of the industry’s employers reducing headcount in the first three months of the year.

Naamsa noted that the first quarter’s job losses illustrated “the magnitude of the extremely difficult operating environment, characterised both by sharply lower domestic new vehicle sales, and lower export sales”.

Turning to the number of shifts, Naamsa said most manufacturers currently operated on a single production shift basis, while some operated double shifts in selected areas, such as machining, press shops, paint shop operations, and body shops.

“During the quarter, most vehicle assembly plants operated on the basis of a shortened production week,” Naamsa added.—Sapa

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