Mail & Guardian

Index shows increase in informal jobs sector

12 Nov 2012 13:22 | Sapa

Employment in the month of October increased by an annualised rate of 1% boosted by the informal sector. (M&G)

Employment in the month of October increased by an annualised rate of 1% boosted by the informal sector. (M&G)

During September and October, the economy added 41 971 jobs, partly reversing the decline of 82 431 jobs observed in the four-month period of May, June, July and August.

Jobs were created in all sectors, but the informal sector continued to outperform the others, growing at a rate of 2.3% or 12 250 jobs during October.

Strong growth was observed in temporary and agency work (1.2% and 1.4% respectively).

Loane Sharp, chief analyst at Adcorp Holdings, said the strong growth was likely to continue as the economy ramped up for the year-end retail season. The primary and secondary sectors (mining and manufacturing) lost 6 000 jobs between them during the month, with ongoing strikes a key factor in this decline.

The tertiary sectors (mostly services) gained 14 000 jobs. The strongest employment growth was observed in construction (4.7%), financial services (4.3%) and wholesale and retail trade (3.4%).

High-skilled jobs continued to outperform low-skilled jobs. "Professional and clerical employment grew 3% with 17 000 jobs during the month, while low-skilled employment fell by 1.3%, equating to 6 000 jobs," said Sharp.

He said the recent 2011 population census results still did not provide clear answers on the size and economic significance of the informal sector.

"According to the 2011 census, informal sector employment amounts to 1.61-million – 27.2% lower than the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS). He said the census had cast doubt over the QLFS as well.

"Adcorp's latest estimate for October 2012 suggests that there are 6.4-million people employed, in the sense of being routinely economically active in the informal sector, representing 32.9% of total employment in South Africa," Sharp said.

The informal sector was the fastest job-creating sector in the South African economy.

Since January 2011 the informal sector had created 184 098 jobs compared to the loss of 26 098 jobs in the formal sector, he said. – Sapa

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