South Africa lost 552 000 formal-sector jobs in the year to end-March, the latest quarterly employment statistics (QES) from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) show.
In the first quarter of 2021, total employment in the formal non-agricultural sector declined to 9.644 million, which was 5.4% less than in March 2020. The number of full-time jobs fell by even more (-6.5%), while part-time employment increased by 47 000 or almost 5% year-on-year between March 2020 and March 2021.
The total number of jobs also declined compared to the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 – by 9 000 posts – from 9 653 000 in December 2020 to March 2021.
The biggest falls in employment during the first quarter were in trade, construction and electricity, but community and social services, mining and manufacturing saw employment gains.
Total gross pay earned by South Africans fell by 1.9% between March 2020 and March 2021.
The South African economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, and many businesses were not allowed to operate for months during the hard lockdown last year. The SA GDP numbers for the first quarter of 2021 showed that the economy was 3.2% smaller than the same quarter a year ago.