South African employment figures: 2014 vs 2015

Stats South Africa has released its Quarterly Labour Force figures for the last quarter of 2015, showing an improvement in the country’s unemployment rate by 1%.

In Q4 2015, the working age population stood at 36.3 million, with 16 million people employed. 5.2 million people remained unemployed, while 15.1 million people were not economically active, giving the country an unemployment rate of 24.5%.

Year on year, there was a marked increase in the number of people employed in the country, though there was an overall increase in the number of unemployed people.

Following a decrease of 115,000 jobs in Q1 2015, employment in the formal sector increased for three consecutive quarters, Stats SA said.

The largest employment gains were seen in the Finance and other business services (173,000), Construction (120,000) and Community and social services (60,000) industries.

However, over the course of 2015, job losses were observed in the Transport, Trade, and Manufacturing industries (75,000, 64,000 and 17,000, respectively).

South Africa’s biggest industries by employment

Industry Dec 2014 (‘000) Dec 2015 (‘000) YoY Change (%)
Community and social services 3 501 3 624 3.5%
Trade 3 247 3 280 1.0%
Finance and other business services 2 039 2 273 11.5%
Manufacturing 1 749 1 738 -0.6%
Construction 1 334 1 438 7.8%
Private households 1 219 1 294 6.2%
Transport 952 900 -5.4%
Agriculture 742 860 16.0%
Mining 427 483 13.1%
Utilities 104 123 19.1%
Total 15 320 16 018 4.6%

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South African employment figures: 2014 vs 2015