Monitoring the Performance of the South African Labour Market

"Since the recession of 2009, economic growth in South Africa has only exceeded four percent per annum three times (in 2010Q1, 2010Q4 and 2011Q1). In fact, growth was below four percent in seven consecutive quarters since 2011Q2 and, in 2013Q1, was only 0.9 percent – the lowest since the recession. Weak economic growth has been reflected in the labour market, as employment has only gradually recovered. The estimates of employment, as shown in Figure 1, after decreasing rapidly by more than one million between 2008Q4 and 2010Q3, were virtually unchanged in the next three quarters, before in-creasing by about 0.4 million between 2011Q2 and 2011Q4. These estimates were stagnant again in the first two quarters of 2012, before rising by another 0.2 million in 2012Q3. Since then, the estimates hovered just above 13.6 million, and by 2013Q1, employment is estimated at 13.6 million, a figure that is not statistically different from a year earlier. Nonetheless, the 2013Q1 employment estimates were the second highest since the pre-recession peak of 14.1 million in 2008Q4."