Extraordinary findings released on Wednesday about the South African economy show just how great the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns has been, and tell the story of a country in profound transition.
Researchers, in three papers analysing the findings of the latest NIDS-CRAM survey, highlight important employment recoveries and adjustments in the South African labour market by October 2020. Their reports, drawing on the Wave 3 data and released on Wednesday, are freely available to the public.
Between February and April 2020 we had previously found a substantial increase in those who were not employed (43% to 52%) and an increase in furloughed workers (employed with partial or no pay). We now find that by October 2020 the percentage of people employed is much closer to its February, pre-pandemic level.
The fraction of people employed (including furloughed workers) changed from 57% (February) to 48% (April and June) to 55% in October.
These results are robust to a number of data checks. The employment recovery described here remains broadly the same after testing a number of alternative approaches to measuring employment, including using different definitions of employment that take account of different age categories or what counts as "employment" (using full-time...