Employment in South Africa declined in the second quarter of 2016 by 129,000 to 15.5 million, according to Statistics South Africa.

“A total 15.5 million people are working in South Africa and unemployment has tipped just a little bit by 0.1 per cent in this quarter,” Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said when releasing the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) here Thursday.

The quarterly decline in total employment was driven by job losses in services (127,000 or 3.5 per cent of jobs in that sector), agriculture (44,000 or 5.0 per cent), transport (39,000 or 4.4 per cent) and mining (24,000 or 5.1 per cent). Formal sector jobs decreased by 66,000 quarter or quarter.

“Only jobs in households increased (by 39.000 quarter on quarter).

“If we had to compare the jobs, employment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) we are seeing an interesting pattern. The first time we see since quarter one 2011, a corresponding dip in GDP and corresponding dip in jobs going into the negative terrain that if we look at this from Quarter 1 GDP and Quarter 2 unemployment,” observed Lehohla.

According to the QLFS, the services, trade and finance industries accounted for more than 55 per cent of the employed and 60 per cent of GDP.

The survey showed that formal sector employment declined for two consecutive quarters to 10.9 million in the second quarter. “It was still 0.8 per cent higher compared to the same period last year,” said the Statistician General.

Lehohla said the formal sector on a quarter-on-quarter basis had been yo-yoing while the informal sector contracted by 58,000 jobs or 2.3 per cent in the second quarter.

Unemployment declined in the second quarter by 90,000. It declined somewhat by 0.1 per cent — from 26.7 per cent to 26.6 per cent, he said, adding that during the same period the level of inactivity increased by 379,000.

This implies that people who lost jobs moved into inactivity rather than into unemployment or that those who were previously looking for work stopped looking for work.

The report noted that the youth unemployment rate remained high at 37.5 per cent showing that the youth (aged 15 to 34) and people without matriculation qualifications remained vulnerable.

According to the report, there were approximately 3.2 million young people aged 15 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training. “This is only 31.2 per cent of those aged 15 to 24 years while people without matriculation account for 58.3 per cent of the unemployed,” said the report. –