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sriThe Solidarity Research Institute (SRI), in collaboration with ETM Analytics, last week released the October – December 2017 quarterly edition of the SA Labour Market Report and Index.  

Gerhard van Onselen, economics researcher at the SRI, elaborated on the findings as follows:  “The Labour Market Index (LMI) continued its rise in the third quarter of 2017, but remained below 50.  The LMI is a quarterly measure of job and wage security in the South African labour market.  The index increased to 47.5 in Q3 from an upwardly revised 47.0 in Q2.”  A score below 50, the index’s neutral level, indicates declining job and wage security.  Van Onselen added:  “Presently, the LMI is indicating that a downtrend in force from 2011 to the end of 2016 may have been broken.  However, the fact that the index is stubbornly persisting below 50 is a telling indication of the structural impediments present in the economy.”  He went on to note that measurements of labour affordability were especially concerning and pointed to companies experiencing difficulty in affording to hire new staff.  Moreover, with employment growth very weak and high unemployment persisting, the employment picture remained gloomy.  “Lingering job insecurity, retrenchments in some sectors and limited wage gains are likely to remain part of the South African employment landscape for some time to come,” Van Onselen noted.

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