Stats SA has published its quarterly employment survey (QES) for the fourth quarter of the year ending December 2022.
According to the data, the average salary in South Africa is now R26,032 a month, up 4.5% from the previous quarter, where it was R24,813, and up 9.2% from the fourth quarter of 2021 at R23,828.
Data published by The University of Cape Town’s Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing showed that a household needs to earn around R22,000 to be considered middle class in South Africa.
This would mean that the average formally-employed non-agricultural worker in the country would fit into that class category.
It also aligns with data from FNB, which paints a broader definition of someone earning between R15,000 and R40,000 a month.
Total gross earnings paid to employees increased by R67.8 billion or 8.5% from R798.7 billion in September 2022 to R866.6 billion in December 2022.
This was largely due to increases in the following industries: community services, trade, manufacturing, business services, construction, transport, electricity and mining.
The year-on-year total gross earnings increased by R39.2 billion or 4.7% between December 2021 and December 2022.
Basic salary/wages paid to employees increased by R22.8 billion or 3.1% from R729.3 billion in September 2022 to R752.1 billion in December 2022.
This was largely due to increases in the following industries: community services, trade, business services, manufacturing, mining, transport and electricity. However, the construction industry reported a quarterly decrease, Stats SA said.
The year-on-year basic salary/wages increased by R31.9 billion or 4.4% between December 2021 and December 2022.
According to the survey results, total employment increased by 48,000 or 0.5% quarter-on-quarter, from 9,920,000 in September 2022 to 9,968,000 in December 2022.
This was largely due to increases in the following industries: trade (49,000 or 2.3%), business services (9,000 or 0.4%) and mining (2,000 or 0.4%).
The transport and community services industries reported no quarterly change.
However, there were decreases in the following industries: construction (-10,000 or -1.9%), manufacturing (-1,000 or -0.1%) and electricity (-1,000 or -1.7%).
Total employment decreased by 94,000 or -0.9% year-on-year between December 2021 and December 2022, largely driven by a huge loss in part-time workers in community services and full-time workers in the construction industry.
The QES data differs from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) in that the QES data reflects the number of people receiving salaries and does not reflect employment/unemployment trends, which are covered by the QLFS.
The QLFS for Q4 2022, showed a small drop in the country’s unemployment rate.
The official unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point from 32.9% in the third quarter of 2022 to 32.7% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The unemployment rate, according to the expanded definition of unemployment, also decreased by 0.5 of a percentage point to 42.6% in Q4:2022 compared to Q3:2022.
The survey results indicate that 169,000 jobs were gained between the third quarter of 2022 and the fourth quarter of 2022. The total number of persons employed was 15.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The number of unemployed persons increased by 28,000 to 7.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 95,000 to 13.4 million, and the discouraged work-seekers decreased by 151,000 in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the previous quarter resulting in a net decrease of 57,000 in the not economically active population.