The Western Cape’s job numbers have held steady for the first quarter of 2019, according to the latest StatsSA jobs data, while the South African economy shed 237 000 jobs.
Job losses were recorded in seven of the country’s nine provinces.
Nationally, the employment rate declined by 0.5 percentage points in the last quarter, and unemployment now stands at 27.6%.
Quarter on quarter data for the Western Cape, shows that job numbers held steady, with no increases or losses.
The province still maintained the lowest expanded unemployment rate, which at 22.7% is 15.3 percentage points lower than the national average, and 10.9 percentage points lower than Gauteng. The Western Cape also has the highest labour force participation and absorption rates in the country.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer said: “the decline in employment reflects the wait-and-see attitude being taken by businesses and investors ahead of the elections. With the elections behind us, we will hopefully start to see the economy take off again.”
“In order for us to see real economic growth, we have to see policy certainty from the national government and we have to see concerted efforts in the new political term, to weed out corruption which has plagued the South African economy and had a real impact on investor confidence,” she said.
Minister Schäfer added: “We have however seen some positive developments in some of the province’s key sectors including agriculture, construction and finance.”
The agricultural sector was the biggest contributor to job creation in the province, adding 17 000 jobs year on year, reflecting the continued recovery in the province from the drought.
The Western Cape, which has positioned itself as a global finance hub, also showed growth in the number of finance jobs, adding 8000 jobs in this sector year on year.
The construction industry, which shed 92 000 jobs nationally, showed some positive signs of growth in the Western Cape, adding 6000 jobs in the past year.
“Construction is an indicator of business confidence, and the fact that we were able to add jobs in this sector in the province over the past year points to investor confidence in our economy,” Minister Schafer said.
The province’s trade sector reflected a decline of 4000 jobs, while the biggest losses in the province were recorded in private households, where employment declined by 25 000 jobs or 15.4% year on year.
“These losses are a reflection of the pressure consumers have come under over the past year, with rising fuel prices and other knock-on costs, affecting people’s spending habits,” Minister Schäfer said.