Formal sector employment in South Africa dropped by 0,5 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to Statistics South Africa's latest quarter employment figures.
A decrease of 48,000 people in formal employment between January and March 2017 reduced the total number of people in formal employment from 9,692,000 to 9,644,000. The half percentage drop in employment was driven by decreases in trade, business and community services, manufacturing and transport.
The trade sector recorded the largest decrease in employment of these industries with 32,000 -- a decline of 1,5 percent. Business services followed with a decrease of 23,000 or a decline of 1 percent.
The construction and mining industries, however, recorded increases in the number of people in formal employment of 12,000 and 8,000 respectively.
Annual figures show a decrease of 58,000 people in formal employment between March 2016 and 2017 or a decline of 0,6 percent.
Average monthly earnings raise slightly
While gross earnings -- payment before taxes and other deductions -- paid to employees decreased by R19 billion in the first three months of this year (-3,2 percent), gross earnings between March 2016 and 2017 increased by R33,3 billion - growth of 6 percent.
Average monthly earnings for formal employees outside of the agricultural sector increased by 0,8 percent from R18,536 to R18,687 between November 2016 and February 2017. Average monthly earnings -- calculated by dividing total gross earnings by the number of employees -- rose by 8,3 percent between March 2016 and 2017.
The Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) surveys enterprises in the formal business sector of the South African economy excluding the agricultural sector. It collects information including the number of employees in organisations, and earnings including bonuses and severance pay. This survey differs from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released on June 1 which surveys approximately 30,000 dwellings and provides insight into the 'description of the employed and unemployed' including demographic profiles, education levels and hours of work.