Stats SA reports 2.2 million job losses in quarter two

Marco Green
October 1, 2020

South Africa's economy lost about 2.2 million jobs in the second quarter of 2020, data released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Tuesday revealed.

The bank states that a surface reading of the second-quarter numbers shows that the number of unemployed dropped by 2.8-million, or 39.2% quarter-on-quarter, and decreased by 2.4-million, or 35.5% year-on-year, during the second quarter.

As a result, numerous second quarter's "not economically active" people will during the third quarter be considered unemployed.

"In essence, the national lockdown hindered people from looking for work, so this significant decline in unemployment while employment is declining is inherent in the official definition of unemployment".

"It is because for someone to be unemployed they have to be actively looking for employment ..."

They noted that when these people were asked why they did not seek work, that most people cited the national lockdown and coronavirus as reasons. PwC's ADAPT framework (recently updated to incorporate elements of Covid-19) has warned that in demographically young economies like South Africa, governments will be faced with chronically high youth unemployment over the full spectrum of education levels.

Besides, additional social protection measures have been provided to over 16 million South Africans, more than a quarter of the country's population, during the lockdown, he said.

"Now is the time for all South Africans to pull together and grow South Africa", he said.

Rather, Bell said, the country's long history of jobless growth called for a new approach like reducing the wage bills of cabinet ministers and company executives in the private sector.

More than two million jobs were shed between April and June 2020, marking an unprecedented decline in employment from the first quarter to the second quarter of the year.

All industries experienced job losses in quarter 2 2020 compared to quarter 1 2020.

He comments that the manufacturing sector, of which metals and engineering (M&E) forms part, shed 250 000 jobs over the second quarter compared with the first quarter of the year, which equates to 14% of the sector's employment.

There were also some statistical quirks that kept this increase limited - though at least it gives a better approximation of joblessness than the narrowly defined unemployment rate.

Stats SA added questions to the survey to account for the changes in employment trends brought about by the lockdown.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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