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South African Iron and Steel Institute

Focus in creating a conducive business environment could reverse massive job losses in the manufacturing sector

23 Aug 2022

South Africa’s unemployment rate was at 33.9% in the Q2 of 2022, down from 34.5% in the Q1 and a record high of 35.3% in the Q4 of 2021. The number of unemployed persons increased by 132 thousand to 7.994 million, employment rose by 648 thousand to 15.562 million and the labour force went up by 780 thousand to 23.556 million. 

However, major job losses were reported for manufacturing (down 73 thousand) and transport ( down 54 thousand) reported declines, amid disruptions caused by rolling blackouts and severe flooding in KwaZulu-Natal.

Source: Stats SA, Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), 2nd Quarter 2022

As saisi also argued, for the economy to grow we need a conducive environment to do business and this is particularly true for manufacturing.

We need stable energy supply at as low a cost as possible. We need rail services that efficiently move goods around. We need ports that can move volumes of manufactured goods to international markets. We also need expedited implementation of all intervention to unlock demand such as expedited infrastructure projects.

Masterplans and similar sector-specific interventions are welcomed and surely have their place. But could be a missed opportunity if the operating environment is moving against manufacturing. Hence the continued call from saisi for government to create an enabling, efficient, and effective environment that would be conducive for both growth and job creation