Two South African employment surveys, Stats SA’s Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) and the Quarterly Labour Force Statistics (QLFS), differ in many ways, also in the employment story that they tell.
The QES is a survey among employers, whereas the QLFS measures employment and unemployment among the population.
According to the QES, released this morning, the number of jobs created in the formal sector (excluding agriculture) of the economy increased by 56 000 in the first quarter of 2018.
This was not unexpected, as the QLFS, which was released a while ago, indicated that 111 000 jobs were created in the formal sector of the economy (excluding agriculture).
The QES confirms an ongoing trend, namely that the mining sector continues to shed jobs. Another 14 000 jobs were lost compared to a year ago. This is sad news for UASA workers employed in the mining industry.
What the QES also points out is that the average earnings per worker declined in real terms (after making provision for inflation). Although the average earnings per worker was 0.4% higher in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter in 2017, it was 3.3% lower in real terms.
When worker earnings decline in real terms, it has a knock-on effect right through the economy as workers can save and spend less, which affects the pace at which new jobs can be created.
Obviously, this causes social problems, particularly in the lower remunerated categories.
Is Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa's youth jobs plan to create a million jobs in three years a mere pipe-dream? It has already been stated by opposition parties that to create a million jobs would take at least 50 years to achieve at current rates.
UASA urges Ramaphosa to put his money where his mouth is. The president promised jobs and transformation. He suggested recently that he would work towards getting all key role-players to agree that a million jobs would be created, as all South Africa needed to do was to get them together around a table and say “What are you going to do to get us to create those jobs.”
The latest survey shows that we are indeed still very far removed from creating sufficient jobs.
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