Quarterly Employment Statistics

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), the Southern African nation’s national statistical service, whose aim and goal is to produce timely, accurate, and official statistics for the government such as official demographic, economic, and social censuses and surveys, in order to advance economic growth and development, has released its latest Quarterly Employment Statistics for the second quarter of 2017, announcing more bad news for job-seekers.

Quarterly Employment Statistics is an enterprise-based sample survey conducted by Stats SA. The samples are drawn from private non-agricultural industries/businesses. The definition of industries is based on the System of National Accounts (SNA) and is in line with that in the Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities. Industries/businesses whose data is looked at include:

  • mining and quarrying;
  • manufacturing;
  • electricity, gas and water supply;
  • construction;
  • wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods; and hotels and restaurants;
  • transport, storage and communication;
  • financial intermediation, insurance, real estate and business services; and
  • community, social and personal services.

The following are the key findings of the survey, including the scary facts.

1. The Country Experienced A Decline of 34,000 Jobs

The Quarterly Employment Statistics data monitors changes in employment at the establishment level in order to capture the aggregate employment growth statistics.

Releasing the latest report of QES, Stats SA warned thus:



“More bad news looms for job-seekers as the formal non-agricultural sector of the economy reported a decline of 34 000 jobs for the quarter ended June 2017.

“There was a decline in employment in both the March 2017 and June 2017 quarters. The QES recorded consecutive losses of 41 000 jobs and 34 000 jobs over the last two quarters, respectively,” it added.

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2. The Job Losses Happened In Most of the Major Sectors

Here, Stats SA buttressed that the manufacturing industry reported the highest job loss of 13 000 employees. After the manufacturing industry, the construction industry was next in line with 11 000 jobs.

This was followed by losses in the community and social services industry with 10 000 jobs, the transport and communication industry with 5 000 jobs and the business services industry with 1 000 jobs.

3. Decline in Earnings Further Nose-dived

As specified, gross earnings for the quarter which ended in June 2017, declined further.

“(It) continued on a downward trend with a decline by R2.3 billion. This follows a decline of R19.5 billion in the previous quarter. The total amount of gross earnings measured for the quarter was R585 billion. This is down from R587 billion,” related Stats SA.

Stats SA buttressed that the decline in earnings was driven by the business services industry with a quarter-on-quarter decrease of R13.6 billion. This follows the three successive quarters of positive growth in earnings.

Quarterly Employment Statistics’ Favourable Outcomes

While the foregoing offered little hope or excitement, it isn’t all bleak. For instance, the average monthly earnings were measured at R18,666 for the June 2017 quarter. The amount represents an increase of 1.7% from the previous quarter and an increase of 1.4% from the same quarter in 2016.

More to that, earnings increased in the mining, manufacturing, electricity, construction, trade, transport, and community services sectors; respectively by R182 million, R144 million, R44 million, R469 million, R970 million, R1.8 billion and 7.4 billion. This is true despite the overall decline in gross earnings.

Similarly, the mining industry created 3,000 jobs while the wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods; hotels and restaurants industry also created the same amount of jobs.

The mining industry’s success was mainly due to increases in employment of coal and platinum group metals mining while that of the wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods; hotels and restaurants industry also made a recovery of another 3,000 jobs from a decline of 30,000 jobs in March 2017.

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You can check out the full findings of the survey here. Also, a complete set of Stats SA publications are available at the Stats SA Library and the following public libraries:

  • National Library of South Africa, Pretoria Division
  • National Library of South Africa, Cape Town Division
  • Natal Society Library, Pietermaritzburg
  • Library of Parliament, Cape Town
  • Bloemfontein Public Library
  • Johannesburg Public Library
  • Eastern Cape Library Services, King William’s Town
  • Central Regional Library, Polokwane
  • Central Reference Library, Mbombela
  • Central Reference Collection, Kimberly
  • Central Reference Library, Mmabatho