BankservAfrica has published its latest Take Home Pay Index, showing how much money the average South African takes home after tax.
The index showed a slight decline in take home pay in August of 0.2%, putting the average pay at R14,385.
“With salaries unlikely to reach above average increases, the impact is expected to be felt in the passenger car market with subdued sales in the coming months,” it said.
The decline in the index is due to the late and back dated increases of public servants’ wages last year, said chief economist at Economists.co.za, Mike Schussler, who noted that the civil service makes up around 30% of the payments measures in the index.
“Late salary adjustments and the subsequent back dated increases influence the data somewhat. Therefore, had civil servant salaries been paid on time last year, the index increases would have been slightly lower in April to June while the July and August changes would have been somewhat higher,” he said.
“The slight decline is therefore overstated – we expect take-home pay to increase ever so slightly in the next few months,” Schussler said.
The overall salary movement reflects massive increases, followed by substantial declines caused by delayed salary increases by government. Extended salary negotiations by sectors, such as mining or electricity, have also contributed to these movements.
However, total take-home pay paid to employees still play a significant role in the economy, as evident in the relationship between new passenger car sales and BankservAfrica’s aggregate data for total salaries paid.
“When salary hikes are low, cars sales are also low, although with about a one-month lead. It already seems likely that car new car sales will remain subdued as take-home wages are unlikely to have above average increases,” the economist said.