South Africa: Labour Market Still Far From Normal As Employment Staggers Amid Staggering Economic Recovery - Department of Labour's Report

press release

The Annual Labour Market Bulletin (ALMB) 2011/12 report by the Department of Labour (DoL) has found that although economic conditions have relatively improved in the three years, job creation still remains restrained in South Africa.

The report further said there is little improvement in the structure of employment and this means that there is still a problem with regard to the shortfall of labour demand and supply in the labour market.

The report provides an analysis over three years in order to detect the main changes in the South African labour market. The report takes stock from some of the recent economic and labour market report findings and provides a useful overview analysis: on the performance of the south African economy; youth employability and; industrial disputers in the South African labour market.

The report said that out of the total number of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claims processed, the Department of Labour has approved and paid on the average more than 145 000 claims in the three years period from September 2009 to September 2011. UIF data signals that unemployment is still persistent as most of those who claims for UI reported to be dismissed or retrenched and also end of short term or temporary employment

The number of advertised vacancies was highest in the July to September of 2010 when 21 213 vacancies were advertised in one quarter. The number of advertised vacancies began to decline in the same quarter in 2011 until January to march 2012.

The report shows that professionals were highly demanded in the labour market, followed by managers and clerical and administrative workers in the three years period and this was the same in the first quarter of 2012. The vacancy data further shows that there was also an increase in the demand of elementary workers and machine operators and drivers occupations over the same period. This was due to the demand of cleaners, security officers, drivers and forklift drivers.

The job vacancy data indicates that although the South African labour market contracted it does offer opportunities to those individuals who meet the skills required by companies

There was an increase in the number of work stoppages from 45 incidences in 2009/10, 53 in 2010/11 to 67 in 2011/12 financial years. The increase was mostly noticeable in the manufacturing industry from 6 incidences in 2010/11 to 16 in 2011/12 as a result of the strikes in the steel and engineering sector, petroleum, pharmaceutical, chemical timber and sawmilling sub-industries which was called by the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union (CEPPWAWU).

The wholesale and retail industry increased from 7 to 13 incidences due to some long drawn work stoppages in the retail sector, hotels and casino. The number of registered trade unions has been decreasing slightly by an average of 1% over the 3 financial years.

Despite the decrease in trade unions, there was an observed increase of 11% in the number of members. This means that members of deregistered trade unions tend to seek refuge in other established unions with similar interests.

The report concludes by saying that employment creation should continue to be a policy priority and Government needs to support small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME's) in order to integrate the youth in the mainstream of the economy.

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