Today's Labour News

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employment thumb100 BL Premium writes that improvements in the political climate since the ANC's elective conference in December boosted business confidence in the first quarter of the year, which could lift the jobs data to be published in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey on Tuesday.  

Higher growth is also forecast.  But mining production fell 8.4% in March compared to a year before - its biggest contraction in two years.  Also, manufacturing fell 1.3% in March compared to the previous period last year as the stronger rand hit exports.  So, the outlook for employment data is said to be uncertain.  Nedbank economist Johannes Khosa said firmer global economic growth and higher commodity prices had supported business confidence and should encourage fixed investment activity and job creation.  Even so, he expects the unemployment rate to remain "structurally high at around 26% in the short term".  Absa economist Miyelani Maluleke noted that sectoral surveys by the Bureau for Economic Research showed that hiring intentions were still "fairly downbeat" across major sectors.  "The economy is simply just not growing fast enough to make a meaningful dent to the unemployment rate at the moment."  BNP Paribas economist Jeffrey Schultz expects a quarter-on-quarter improvement in employment, but said:  "This will not necessarily translate into a significant improvement in the unemployment rate, as much depends on the labour force participation rate."  He added that the unemployment rate “could even deteriorate slightly as the economy is not yet in a position to all of a sudden become massively labour absorbing."

  • Read this report by Asha Speckman in full at BL Premium (paywall access)

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