Government can't continue driving job growth

The government’s target of creating five million jobs by 2020 will require 40% growth in employment over the next decade, a survey has found.

“The increase in public sector employment is not a sustainable solution to our unemployment problem,” said researcher Lucy Holborn on Tuesday.

“The public sector wage bill already accounts for a third of all government spending.”

The survey was conducted by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR). It assesses aspects of South African life from unemployment to health and education issues.

The 800-page report, which has been produced every year since 1946, will be officially released next week.

Six researchers gathered the information for the most recent report using data from Statistics South Africa and other, official and unofficial, sources.

Holborn, who is the research manager of the SAIRR, said the national job growth rate would have to increase eight-fold if employment targets were to be met.

The current government employment rate was growing four times faster than total employment.

Total employment grew by 5% over the last decade from 12.5 million people employed in 2001 to 13.1 million in 2011. During the same period jobs in the public sector grew by 22%.

Of the 1.3 million public service employees, about 450 000 were teachers and nurses and 190 000 in the South Africa Police Service.

This was according to data provided by the department of public service and administration.

“In addition to the 1.3 million working for national and provincial government there are a quarter of a million people working for local governments, and several hundreds of thousands working in public institutions such as parastatals and section nine institutions, although an exact figure has not been published by the government,” Holborn said.—Reuters

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