The number of people employed in South Africa’s formal sector rose for the second consecutive quarter in the three months to December, with the economy adding 101 000 jobs in the fourth quarter.
The Quarterly Employment Statistics report, published by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday, showed formal non-agriculture employment rose by 1,2% to 8,256-million in the December quarter, compared with the 8,155-million people employed at the end of the September quarter.
The positive traction over the past two quarters followed 18 months of employment numbers dropping, with almost one-million lost jobs during the economic crisis of 2008/9.
Compared to last year’s December quarterly numbers, employment in the formal, non-agricultural sector increased by 93 000 employees.
The country’s mining and quarrying industry showed strong year-on-year growth in employment, bringing in an additional 15 000 employees. However, quarter-on-quarter, employment declined, with 2 000 jobs lost.
Construction industry employment declined by 3,6% or 15 000 employees in the December 2010 quarter, compared with the December 2009 quarter. StatsSA also reported that 6 000 lost their jobs in the three months from September 2010, to December 2010, mainly owing to the completion of construction projects.
The manufacturing industry increased employment by 0,6% or 7 000 employees in the December quarter compared with the September quarter, after the industry lost 19 000 employees in the last year.
The strongest employment driver between the December 2009 and December 2010 quarters, was the community, social and personal services industry, adding 68 000 employees, mainly owing to increases in employment in provincial, local and national government departments and other government activities.
The financial sector added 26 000 and the wholesale and retail trade sector added 18 000 jobs, when compared to December 2009.
The report also showed that employee salaries in the formal sector generally showed strong increases, rising by 10,7% quarter-on-quarter and 11,4% year-on-year, while the country showed an average inflation rate of between 3% and 4% during the year.