EMPLOYMENT as measured by Adcorp, the JSE-listed employment services group, improved last month for the first time since April, figures released on Wednesday showed.
Job gains in September amounted to 25,855, Adcorp data revealed.
The group’s employment index showed that employment in South Africa grew 1.61% on an annual basis last month‚ following declines in August.
The index is regarded as the most representative monthly barometer of employment trends in South Africa‚ although its figures do not usually tally with those from Statistics South Africa, the country’s official statistics agency.
The 25‚855 jobs gained partly reversed the decline of 82‚431 jobs observed in the four-month period of May-August.
Most of the sectors recorded jobs growth, with the most gains seen in the informal sector, which had a growth rate of 2.3%, or 12‚059 jobs, during the month.
Strong growth was also observed in temporary and agency work‚ with 0.9% and 1% growth rates, respectively.
Adcorp said this trend was likely to continue as the economy ramped up for the year-end retail season.
The primary and secondary sectors of mining and manufacturing continued to shed jobs last month, losing 14,000 jobs between them, reflecting the impact of the slowdown in global demand and domestic strike action.
The tertiary sectors, mostly services, gained 23,000 jobs during the month, with the strongest employment growth observed in transport (10.7%)‚ construction (7.1%) and financial services (6.5%).
Turning to conditions in South Africa’s mining sector, Adcorp’s research concluded that high wage settlements and problematic labour relations would lead to long-term job losses. South Africa’s mining sector employs about 523,000 workers.
Platinum mine workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in the North West recently received wage settlements of between 11% and 22%.
Adcorp found that over the past year, mining sector wages, including bonuses and overtime, had increased 13.8% compared with an 11.4% decline in labour productivity.
"It reveals that the 25.2% absolute gap between labour costs and labour’s contribution is now the highest in recorded history," it said.
South Africa’s mines were "responding rationally" by reducing their dependence on labour, Adcorp said.
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