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.