Solidarity: 28 000 jobs lost in formal sector each month

The formal sector has lost about 330 000 jobs in the past 12 months, according to trade union Solidarity.

This amounts to a decrease of about 28 000 jobs every month over the past 12 months, Solidarity said on Tuesday following the release of Statistics South Africa’s quarterly employment figures for the third quarter of 2009.

In terms of these figures, the number of jobs in the formal sector dropped by 79 000 in the past quarter.
In the second quarter of 2009, nearly 8 241 000 people worked in the formal sector. This figure decreased to 8 162 000 in the third quarter of 2009.

The figures focus on employment in the formal non-agricultural sector. A 3,9% decrease in the number of jobs was recorded in the past year after the 8 490 000 jobs calculated in the third quarter of 2008 dropped to 8 162 000.

According to Solidarity, the levels of employment still compare poorly to good years of growth such as 2007, but emphasised that the drop in the number of jobs between the second and third quarter of 2009 was in fact lower than the decrease recorded from the end of last year.

“More than 186 000 net jobs were lost from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009, while decreases of 85 000 and 79 000 respectively were recorded in the two subsequent quarters,” explained Solidarity spokesperson Ilze Nieuwoudt.

Solidarity emphasised that although the GDP growth figures were positive again, employment figures would not improve significantly any time soon.

“Solidarity is still involved in several section 189 retrenchments at various large companies and these planned retrenchments will eventually still have a negative impact on levels of employment. The labour situation is only expected to improve much later in 2010,” Nieuwoudt explained.

According to the report, the mining industry showed the biggest decrease in jobs. More than 46 000 jobs were lost in the industry in the past year, amounting to a decrease of 8,6% in jobs in the industry. This perturbing decrease was followed by a decrease of 37 000 jobs, or 7,9%, in the construction industry, and a decrease of 99 000 jobs, or 7,6%, in the manufacturing industry in the past year. The financial and business industry also struggled in the past year, with a decrease of more than 134 000 jobs.—I-Net Bridge

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