SEIFSA, Growing Unemployment Reconfirms Economy’s Ill Health

Johannesburg, 12 December 2019 – The growing number of job losses in the
manufacturing sector during the third quarter of 2019 is extremely worrisome, Steel and
Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) Economist Marique
Kruger said today.

The Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) data –  which is an enterprise-based
sample survey by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) –  showed that the manufacturing
sector shed 12 000 jobs quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter of 2019. The metals and
engineering (M%E) sector forms part of the broader manufacturing sector.

The job numbers in both the construction and community services sectors were also
negative with both sectors recording losses of 12 000 and 11 000 jobs, respectively. In
total, 28 000 jobs were lost in the domestic economy between the second quarter of
2019 and the third quarter 2019, amounting to an overall 0.3 percent decrease.
However, between the third quarter of 2018 and the third quarter of 2019, an
encouraging total of 78 000 jobs were created, representing 0.8 percent of jobs created.

“Given that the recently-published real GDP figure for the third quarter of 2019
confirmed a stagnant demand environment, the decrease in employment for the same
period correlates with structural challenges faced by South Africa’s industrial
production,” said Ms Kruger.

She added that the further decline in employment numbers reaffirms the ill health of the
country’s economy, despite efforts to rejuvenate industrial activities towards more
employment and economic growth.

“The current non-descript growth scenario poses a serious challenge to dealing with the
unemployment crises. If growth continues to be subdued, likewise business and investor
confidence will continue to decline, thus constricting economic activities and job creation,”
concluded Ms Kruger.

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