The Western Cape created 75% of net jobs in SA over the past year

Note: Africa Check has updated its original report to include comment on the “confusing” nature of the claim.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) recently posted on its Twitter page that the Western Cape has created 75% of all jobs in South Africa in the past year.

The political party’s claim has been backed up and confirmed by fact-checking group, Africa Check, which showed that the claim is based on Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey for January to March 2018.

However it has cautioned that the somewhat confusing claim in based on ‘net’ jobs created.

“A manager with Stats SA’s labour statistics division, Malerato Mosiane, told Africa Check that the claim was correct for net jobs. Net jobs are the number of job gains minus jobs losses,” it said.

“In the Western Cape, there were 123,000 more net jobs in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of 2017. If you work this out as a percentage of the 165,000 net jobs added for the whole country it does equal 74.5%.

This does not mean, however, that the rest of the country only produced 25% of jobs over the same period.

Since the DA’s calculation is based on net jobs, Limpopo can claim it created 50.3% of net jobs and KwaZulu-Natal can claim it created 37.6%

Stats SA’s Mosiane told Africa Check that the Western Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 162% of net jobs. She said that claims like this “may be confusing”.

This sentiment was also shared by Zaakhir Asmal, a researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Development Policy Research Unit.

“Mathematically it makes sense,” Asmal said, “but intuitively it is confusing to say that all of the provinces that experienced an increase in jobs over the period contributed to more than 100%of the total change in employment over the period.”

This positive growth was offset by negative contributions made by Mpumalanga (-12.1%), the Eastern Cape (-27.3%) and Gauteng (-75.2%) over this period.

When the positive and negative contributions of all nine provinces are totalled they equal 100%, as the table below shows.

Asmal added that political parties in South Africa should take care when they boast of job creation in the areas they govern.

“While it may be true to say that a certain proportion of jobs created in the country was created in a particular province, it is not necessarily correct to say – or imply without evidence – that this is because a particular province is governed by a particular party,” Asmal told Africa Check.

Provincial job statistics

Province Year-on-year change Contribution
Western Cape +123 000 74.5%
Limpopo +83 000 50.3%
KwaZulu-Natal +62 000 37.6%
Free State +48 000 29.1%
Northern Cape +22 000 13.3%
North West +16 000 9.7%
Mpumalanga -20 000 -12.1%
Eastern Cape -45 000 -27.3%
Gauteng -124 000 -75.2%

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The Western Cape created 75% of net jobs in SA over the past year