The average monthly take-home pay in South Africa increased in February, the latest BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index shows.
In nominal terms, take-home pay increased to an average of R15,821 – an increase of 4.7% from February 2020. In real terms – taking inflation into account – pay was up 1.6% to R13,044.
“The low inflation rate together with the better performing economy in February certainly contributed to this,” BankservAfrica said.
Comparing figures month-on-month, however, pay has been flat, up just 1.4% and 0.1% in nominal and real terms, respectively.
While an above-inflation rise in take-home pay should be welcomed, BankservAfrica noted a caveat to the data. “Not all of the increases for average wages were due to actual wage increases. Instead, this is due to the fewer number of daily and weekly paid employees in the system, and their decline in the overall index data,” it said.
The average decline of the monthly equivalent daily wage earners was 10.6%, while monthly paid workers decreased by 2.8%, the group said. This has resulted in a far lower share of daily paid employees in the system.
“That is why the value of real total take-home pay paid to all employees in the system only increased by o.2%,” it said.
However, the data still shows a positive trend, with Mike Schüssler, chief economist at economists.co.za, noting that this is the first time since May 2020 that overall total salaries paid through the National Payments System showed a positive increase.
“This will probably contribute more to consumer spending in February data. But it’s still too early to read into this positive development. Nonetheless, it appears the declining trend in total pay has, for now, reached an end,” he said.