Connect with us

Economy

IN PICTURES | The Occupation Of Unemployment In South Africa

Published

on

At the end of the third quarter last year, South Africa recorded a high unemployment rate of 27.5%. Townships and informal settlements are at the helm of this problem where the youth lack resources to even apply for jobs.


A young, unemployed man crosses a busy street on 12th Avenue.

Dragging a greasy trolley filled with trash, he looks at us blankly as he continues to lug his garbage to the nearest junkyard.

It is a regular sight and a regular weekday on the streets of Alexandra, eight kilometers from Africa’s richest square mile, Sandton, in South Africa. 

Sixteen-seater minibus-taxis dash from corner to corner, packing their vehicles with enough passengers before making their way out of the township.

It is 10.30AM on this sunny Wednesday morning in December.

The street corners are adorned with colorful tuckshops; they stand out against the backdrop of the grey homes around them.

An Alexandra resident collects trash in order to make a living in the over-populated community. Picture: Gypseenia Lion

One of the spaza shops is bright blue with light textures of yellow paint; a man sits behind a mesh by the sales counter. It is almost impossible to see his face.

He offers a young man a cigarette via a peep hole through the mesh.

Three men gather to smoke the same cigarette before making their way to the multi-purpose community center on the other side of the road.

Each carrying a sling bag and an A4 envelope, they disappear into a building located at the end of a twirling staircase. Young and old ceaselessly walk in and out.

The yard is filled with a number of service centers: the local clinic, revenue service offices, the post office, multiple internet shops and the Youth Advisory Centre (YAC).

At the end of the hallway, Themba Mafuya sits collecting dozens of résumés from the eager youth who are desperately in search of employment.

He gathers the pile of documents and hands it over to his assistant.

“People are hungry for jobs,” he says as he looks at the unending stream of visitors walking in and out of the center.

Mafuya’s institution creates a database of unemployed youth within the community with the sole purpose of  collaborating with companies that are looking to hire.

By working closely with government, YAC reports to the City of Johannesburg on the state of unemployment in the community.

Dressed in casual wear, the 29-year-old has a friendly and positive approach when he advises potential employees.

“Go and correct the mistakes on your résumé that I explained to you. Make sure your documents are certified and bring it to me as soon as possible. Don’t worry, they will hire you,” he tells a young lady.

With Gauteng province being the economic powerhouse of South Africa, contributing 35% to the country’s GDP, according to recent figures released by Stats SA, unemployment remains an area of concern – 29.6% of people live in the province without jobs.

But the province is not among the lowest performing in the country. With an unemployment rate of 36.6%, the Free State has the highest provincial unemployment rate according to StatsSA, in 2018.

Limpopo, with a prominent rural population, surprisingly, has an unemployment rate of 18.9%, making it the lowest in the country.

Townships in the surrounding areas of Gauteng are still faced with an influx of challenges relating to unemployment.

Adding to the lack of jobs, social issues play a big part.

“We need to start doing follow-ups. Ask how many youth have been employed? Who are not employed? Why are they not employed? Maybe they do not have a correct résumé and we need to figure out why the employees do not choose them,” says Mafuya.

Just a few streets away is a compound adjacent to a block of fading pink apartments.

The yard is divided by a muddy passage with small dwellings on either side.

A smell lingers far beyond the cracks of the cement block as two buckets get noisly filled with hot water to clean chicken.

A scene depicting a busy street corner on a late Wednesday morning in Alexandra. Popularly known as Alex, the township has one of the most highest concentrated unemployment rates in Gauteng.
Picture: Gypseenia Lion

Alfredah Phuloane introduces herself after she wipes the chicken remnants off her hands using her multi-colored t-shirt.

With Phuloane is her uncle Velile Ndlovu who is her business partner.

“As long as I have chicken, they are going. If I have 55, all of them will be bought. I’ve already sold 25 for the day and we have just started,” she says.

A helper, who didn’t want to be named, gushes: “I love my job and I am proud of it.”

She too, like the 27.5% of the South African population who are unemployed, will celebrate any job that will help them put food on the table. 

In 2018, StatsSA announced an increase in the unemployment rate at the end of the third quarter.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, there are 16.4 million employed people and 6.2 million unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 64 years in South Africa.

The latest figures record that the number of unemployed people in South Africa grew by 127,000 from the 6.08 million in the previous quarter.

StatsSA Statistician-General, Risenga Maluleke, says unemployment, according to the statistics collected, is calculated using the 4×4 rule.

These are job-seekers in search of employment four days a week in a four-week period.

Phuloane, who has been unemployed for three years, took the iniatitive to start the business when she realized there was a demand for freshly-slaughtered chicken in her community. 

“At the time, when we were slaughtering the chicken for our own consumption, some people were coming in and asking if we were selling them. That is when we realized people needed chicken,”  Ndlovu laughs.

Ndlovu leaves the compound at 4.30AM to stand in a long queue in Linbro Park where he buys the live chickens.

On his return, at around 7AM, he places the fowl in a makeshift coop.

With the helper, who earns a sum of money for her assistance, the trio spend the day processing and packaging chicken for customers.

Three years of unemployment led Phuloane, a former domestic worker, to entrepreneurship.

“If my business does succeed, I want to hire those who do not have jobs. I want to make their lives simple. They can start their own businesses then, because you can’t wait for work. There are no jobs now and it will be difficult,” Phuloane says.

Her uncle on the other hand, who worked as a recycler in a recycling company, decided to quit his job in late 2018.

When Ndlovu rejected a job transfer to South Africa’s capital Pretoria, it suddenly made him one of the thousands without employment.

The formal sector recorded job losses of 65,000 people, and agriculture lost 1,000 employees in the third quarter of last year.

Without the promise of an increase, had he accepted the job in Pretoria, Ndlovu’s expenses would have increased by $111 to travel 41 kilometers to the north eastern part of Johannesburg.

He decided to quit.

“We realized that there is a big opportunity in the township. We are trying by all means to not rely on anyone. We can take our children to school. No one will suffer if they think about starting a business,” he says.

Social engineer Action Setaka, from the organization ACTIVATE! Change Drivers (ACD), who advocates for the unemployed, says there is a copious amount of injustice hampering access to employment.

READ MORE | African Countries Should Rethink How They Use E-government Platforms

It is even worse in the townships.

ACD is a network of young people interested in driving change for the public good of the country through innovation and activism.

For Setaka, unemployment has become a commodity for business and institutions to exploit those desperately in search of work.

From the seemlingly endless amount of documentation required when applying for governmental posts, to the costs of printing and accessing the internet at internet cafés, money is required.

It does not end there.

“Transportation costs for traveling to interviews; posting of résumés cost money, which benefits the internet cafés; data to browse job opportunities and mobile networks make money out of this. Searching for employment requires money, yet you find people who claim that our young people are lazy and, therefore, they are not prepared to find work,” Setaka says.

The dire plight of the jobless youth in Alexandra is not in isolation.

Similar circumstances reverbarate throughout the townships of South Africa.

Another township, much like Alexandra, with compounds filled with shacks, is swarming with people seeking jobs for survival.

Located in the northern part of Johannesburg, Diepsloot has the highest concentration of unemployed people in Gauteng.

This is according to the Gauteng City-Regional Observatory (GCRO)’s Mapping Unemployment publication, released in August 2018.

The location, established in 1994, has grown into a community with a population of more than 160,000 with an estimate of “24,737 shacks alongside more than 5,000 formal housing units, such as RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) houses, self-built houses on serviced sites, and a small number of bank-financed houses,” as quoted in Diepsloot, a brochure compiled by the Johannesburg Development Agency.

Based on the StatsSA 2011 census, the GCRO map shows the concentration of unemployed people in areas that had rates worse than the provincial median in 2011.

According to GCRO statistics, “the square kilometer areas with the highest concentration of unemployed people are observed in townships such as Alexandra and Diepsloot and contain 4,965 and 8,758 people”.

Diepsloot’s South African Youth Project (SAYP) general manager, Clifford Legodi, says gaining access to employment for unemployed youth in townships is harder than it is for youth who grow up in urban regions. This points to a system exclusion due to the lack of access to resources.

Thus, the development programs that will meet the demands of the working environment will, in turn, open up opportunities.

It starts with breaking norms.

READ MORE | Zimbabwe: The State Of Crisis

“Young black people or previously disadvantaged communities are still using the traditional method of taking a taxi, printing a résumé or going to the offices. We felt that it was important to incorporate an online skills program. You look at their online presence. How they apply for a job online. Are they actually keeping a good online profile and how to secure opportunities in time?” Legodi says.

SAYP is a youth development organization aimed at the empowerment of young people by giving them the skillsets to utilize the opportunities around them.

This is done through the ‘Power Through Jobs’ program offered by the non-profit.

Life skills, work-readiness, and getting a job are some of the main points of focus for the youth of the township.

Online job-searching skills have been implemented in order to keep up with the evolving working environment.

Through encouragement and continuous skills development, Legodi says the notion of staying in one position will fade away, and the youth of Diepsloot will aspire to climb the corporate ladder.

“If they can conduct themselves in a professional manner, they will gain credibility,” he says.

The population is dominated by black people and for Legodi, the lack of opportunities within their reach means that those who are able find employment will have to travel long distances to get to work.

“Diepsloot has its own reputation that is quite limiting for young people to get opportunities out there.

“The media also has a bit of an influence, bad news sells. A lot of the things you see are about the crime, but everyone is treated equally within the community,” he says.

“The mistake we have been making in the past when it comes to addressing unemployment, is that we tried to develop a program that put everyone in the same box. We tend to forget that people come from different geographical locations and they are exposed to different lifestyles.”

Twenty-nine-year-old Thapelo Tau sits in a living room watching television.

Thapelo Tau of Alexandra.
Picture: Gypseenia Lion

It is noon and he is catching up on his favorite shows in the home he shares with his mother and two sisters.

“I have been unemployed for five or six years. It has been difficult to look for work. Many people here give up and they just sit at home and watch television,” he says.

He spends most of his time on his phone and reading.

“You may take your documents to look for work, but when you leave, they tear it up. We just give up because there is nothing we can do. I have an uncle who has been looking for work for a long time. He just stopped looking,” Tau says.

When approached for comment, the uncle dismisses the interview in vernacular.

“We are looking for work. We can’t even speak English,” he says.

English is widely considered the language of access in this nation where there are 11 official langages. Those who can’t speak the language are almost always immediately excluded from public participation.

“The problem that we have seen with people from townships is self-confidence. They get afraid when they have to leave their comfort space. They then need to present themselves in a different way, they have to adjust to a different lifestyle to showcase an approach,” says Legodi.

Afri-Berry founder and director, Relobohile Moeng, says the language barrier is one of the biggest challenges for the youth in the townships. Going the extra mile for an intern who lacked verbal communication skills, she offered mentorship and guidance. “The confidence part I had to build in, as her mentor,” attests Moeng.

Townships have the undying potential to contribute greatly to the country’s aggregate economic growth; this can be achieved only if the high populations are granted the opportunity to play their part in the economy. Alexandra and Diepsloot are testament to the facts.

In the interim, Ndlovu, much like the rest of the unemployed population, strives against all odds, hoping against hope to continue to put food on his own table whilst feeding his community.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Economy

What’s Brewing In Tokyo?

Published

on

Japan, a tea-drinking nation, is one of South Africa’s biggest importers of rooibos tea. In 2018, a record high of 2,000 tonnes of the homegrown blend was shipped off to the land of the rising sun.


A tea room filled with reverence for the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

But first, the facts. To understand tea-drinking in Japan, it is important to go through the following motions, starting with the communal practice known as chadō (the way of tea) that is older than 800 years, in which, in a hand-decorated cast iron bowl, green powder, known as matcha, is whisked to make a dark green tea to be offered to guests.

Tea was first brought to Japan from China in the seventh century for medicinal purposes, and was regarded as a commodity that was exclusively accessible to the noble and elite.

According to Japanese historical beliefs, Myōan Eisai, a Buddhist priest who introduced the school of Zen Buddhism to Japan, was one of the first to inculcate the culture of tea in Japan.

He wrote a book on the health benefits of drinking tea, as well as the cultivation and preparation of green tea.

By the thirteenth century, the tea drinking culture grew in popularity among warriors and the elite, and by the sixteenth century, tea had become a favorite for all social classes.

Tea schools opened and the art of making tea gradually evolved to more than just being a spiritual practice in Japan.

It became one of respect with shared peace and friendship.

The tea room is traditionally surrounded by a garden with a tranquil atmosphere, emphasized by dull flowers without strong scents, to avoid distraction.

A low entrance into the tea room suggests that guests are to bow as a gesture of respect for the ceremony.

Every movement, gesture and aesthetic, from the preparation to the enjoyment of the tea, is designed to express friendship and harmony.  Guests watch on as the host shares the moment and finally presents it to them, kneeling on cushions.

Once the bowl has circulated among the guests, it is handed back to the host.The tools are cleaned and the ceremony is closed.

The Red Bush

Over 14,000kms away, across the Indian Ocean, a South African enjoys a hot cup of ‘red tea.’

Its preparation may not be as dramatic as it is in Japan, but it evokes the same sense of calm and serenity. It’s simply made by adding tealeaves or a tea bag into a cup of boiling water, a few teaspoons of sugar and having “a date with time”, as Swaady Martin, the founder of Yswara, an African tea and teatime company, puts it.

Martin, who has been in the tea industry for seven years, with a focus on gourmet African teas, has tasted and sourced blends from Malawi, Kenya and Rwanda but the South African rooibos is her favorite.

“Rooibos is not a tea, it is a plant. I find it a miraculous and wonderous plant. The fact that it only grows in one region of South Africa, and that it has all these incredible properties, makes it a plant I love dearly. I drink rooibos almost every day,” she says. 

Located in the heart of Johannesburg’s central business district (CBD), Martin’s tea room, which is currently being refurbished, embodies what she calls a meditative appeal that coincides with the tranquil properties of tea.

Tea lovers step into a room filled with silence and walls done up in light pink hues representing a sunset in the desert. 

This is to encourage focus on the tea, as it represents the removal of  barriers between the different social classes.

“We have suffered in South Africa and also around the world, with so much exclusion, the one thing that was important for Yswara was to give inclusive luxury. For me, inclusiveness means being in a place where everyone could have access.

“Being in town (CBD) was just that expression of being in the midst of everything and everyone; and at the junction of what represents the new South Africa,” Martin says.

A South African Rooibos Council (SARC) industry fact sheet published in 2018 states that the country’s geographical areas provide the perfect environmental conditions for rooibos cultivation.

The plant can be found in the Cederberg and Sandveld regions of the Western Cape and the Bokkeveld area of the Northern Cape.

“The vital characteristics of this environment are the Mediterranean climate with a winter rainfall between 200mm and 450mm per year; deep, coarse and acidic sandy soils; and temperatures that can range from zero degrees Celsius in winter months, to up to forty-five degrees Celsius in summer,” the report says.

Due to the indigenous properties of the Rooibos bush, industry regulations stipulate that the term ‘rooibos’ be used responsibly.

“The terms ‘Rooibos’, ‘red bush’, ‘Rooibostee’, ‘Rooibos tea’, ‘rooitee’ and ‘Rooibosch’ may only be used when the dry product, infusion or extract is 100% pure rooibos. Furthermore, the notice stipulates that the above terms (referring to rooibos) can only be used when the product was grown in the geographic area as described in the application, i.e., the winter rainfall area of South Africa,” the SARC report states.

This uniquely-grown product is becoming  a big deal across the globe, and the tea-drinking nation, Japan, has fallen in love with the health benefits that the South African tea provides.

In 2016, rooibos exports increased to over 30 countries across the globe; with Germany, Netherlands, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States (US) being the biggest importers.

In 2018, one of the largest tea-drinking nations recorded over 2,000 tonnes that were shipped into the Japanese shores, making it the largest export since rooibos was first introduced to the Japanese 39 years ago.

For Martin Bergh, the Managing Director of Rooibos Limited and the Chairperson of the SARC, the tea has been up against competition in the Japanese tea market, which has over 26 different types of teas to consume, ranging from the traditional green tea varieties to Jasmine and Barley, or the sacred Mugicha.

“The general trend toward natural health and wellness products continue to exert a growing influence on purchasing patterns in the region and as more of Rooibos’ health benefits become known in the East, we anticipate the demand for the product to grow,” says Bergh.

Bergh points out that the Japanese are purists and therefore prefer to drink rooibos tea unflavored, without milk or sugar.

“In the past, rooibos was consumed more in summer for hydration, but has now become an all-year-round tea product consumed by all age groups. A market as big as Japan’s 126 million-strong tea-loving population, is always eager to experiment with new products.

“Local retailers like Peacock Coffee & Tea Traders have adapted to the experimental flavors to quench the insatiable thirst of the local and international market.”

Kelebogile Monyaysi, the manager at Peacock Coffee & Tea Traders in Rosebank, Johannesburg, attentively prepares a cup of tea when we visit.

The loose tea leaves are cautiously stirred in a tea pot and served at a small coffee table.  

One half of the store is dedicated to coffee and the other for tea.

The smell of freshly-brewed coffee overpowers the aromatic smell of tea.

Tea sets range from vintage English style ceramics to Japanese cast iron teapots.

A selection of rooibos tea blends with various flavored options, ranging from organic rooibos to creamy caramel, as well as herbal blends.

This includes a Nelson Mandela range.

The caffeine-free tea, according to Monyaysi, is popular in the Japanese markets because of its natural healing qualities.

Despite coffee being a popular beverage for sit-in customers, rooibos tea is the most sought after locally too.

“It (rooibos) is the center of attraction. This is a word that they (tourists) can grab and not forget, so when they walk in here, it is all they ask for,” she says.

It took some time for Monyaysi to be stirred by tea. 

“I was not much of a tea-drinker. I only started to enjoy tea when I began working here. Now, the first thing in the morning, I have to drink a cup of tea and in the evening, before I go to bed. It is a habit – if I don’t drink tea, I get a headache,” Monyaysi says, preferring the original rooibos blend.

Jessica Bonin, the founder of Lady Bonin’s Tea, a Cape Town-based company that sources, blends, packages and distributes full leaf teas, either loose or in biodegradable tea bags, offers more on the world’s fetish for rooibos.

Lady Bonins’ teas and herbals are sourced locally and internationally from farms that are organic without adding additives or products that harm the environment.

The rooibos is sourced by using a method known as “wild pickings” – the process of collecting the rooibos that grows naturally in the mountains. Due to the increase in demand for rooibos and rooibos products globally, commercial farmers have scaled production unsustainably, leaving environmental and societal damage in their wake.

Bonin says that in countries like Japan and Thailand, black tea is preferred, and it is predominantly used for the health benefits – making it a herbal infusion.

“They are buying it solely on the principle that it is a caffeine-free, non-tea beverage. People are buying it as an alternative and they are transfixed by its health properties.

“It is enabling people who naturally use plants as medicine for many years. In any Western country, you will need to justify the health benefits, but in the Asian countries, it is the medicine they are interested in. People are very healthy in Japan,” she says.

 Although Bonin is facing difficulties  entering the export market in Japan due to the high number of monopolies and conglomerates in the industry, small amounts of exports also go to Germany and the US.

Rooibos is a unique product that has infused the signature South African taste and its ambience with the rest of the world.

The Japanese may have their unique tea-drinking ceremonies and traditions but in Germany and the other countries that import the plant in millions, rooibos offers a cupful of experience that is incomparable and uniquely South African. 

Gypseenia Lion

Continue Reading

Brand Voice

Sanlam & NASASA Launch NASASA Financial Services For Stokvels

Published

on

By

Sanlam and the National Stokvel Association of South Africa (NASASA) have launched NASASA Financial Services (Pty) Ltd; a brokerage catering to the financial services needs of the South African stokvel market. NASASA is a self-regulatory organisation with a database of 125 000 stokvel groups, reaching about 2.5 million individuals. The new entity will foster greater financial inclusion for all members.


Jacqui Rickson, Chief Executive: Group Benefits at Sanlam Developing Markets Limited and Board member of NASASA Financial Services says, “For South African stokvels this is an opportunity to formalise their existence without having to forego their traditions. The peace-of-mind that each member of a stokvel will be protected in their time of need is invaluable.”

“Stokvels are powerful financial services providers in their own right,” says NASASA Financial Services CEO, Mizi Mtshali “and have the potential to help grow South Africa’s economy once they enter the more formalised sector through appropriate product offerings”. Currently, there are over 800 000 stokvels in the country, aggregating an estimated R50-billion pa. They are, however, quite exposed, especially to liquidity issues that may render them unable to discharge benefits to their members, as well as scams that promise to resolve such issues. This results from a lack of accessible, relevant products that meet the needs of a more informal savings sector. 

As a result, some burial stokvels may not pay enough to cover funeral expenses in their entirety. By offering broad-based financial services to members, NASASA Financial Services will empower stokvels through greater socio-economic inclusion and security.

Jacqui Rickson says, “This venture supports our client-centric focus by allowing financial inclusion to be extended to South Africans who are on the edge of the formalised insurance structures.  Through this, we can help families recover financially following difficult, unexpected events.”

NASASA Financial Services is currently licensed as a Juristic Representative of Sanlam Developing Markets, with a long-term plan to become a Financial Services Provider (FSP).  NASASA Financial Services will distribute tailor-made products nationally via its distribution force. Sanlam as underwriter, through NASASA Financial Services, will initially offer group-based funeral benefits, tailored to each individual type of stokvel.

Products are competitively priced and start at R15 per person. Once the stokvel has selected its option, the stokvel will pay one premium for the whole group. For burial stokvels, Sanlam has designed a full product, covering up to nine family members and all products have been created in partnership with NASASA.

Currently, the product offering includes:

  • A Principal Member Only Funeral Benefit
  • An Immediate Family Funeral Benefit
  • A Principal Member Plus Up To 9 Dependents Funeral Benefit
  • Grocery and Airtime Cash Benefits

NASASA is about educating their members about wealth and more appropriately, financial health, which includes saving on the expense of premiums through aggregation and paying group rates rather than more expensive individualised rates. We’ve designed products as an extension of this; as a tangible, affordable, non-intrusive offering that seamlessly blends the required formal structures with community-based traditional structures.

Mizi Mtshali, NASASA CEO, adds, “The research conducted during the build-up of our product launch saw the solution being entirely built by participating stovels. As a result, we deliver unmatched value by buiding a solution briefed in by our constituency. Amongst the majority of South Africans, funeral insurance fulfils an unmistakable need. While many are excluded from the formal financial system, those who do interface with the sector largely feel inadequately serviced. Burial Societies are formed as providers of such services and have developed systems around the real needs of their members. There are roughly 200 000 active Burial Societies in South Africa, with the majority being self-underwritten.

Because such groups rely on their collective savings to discharge their benefit to members, they often face liquidity problems that may lead to their disbandment. This brings about the need for an underwriter who will take on the risk on behalf of the group, as well as offer a set of products and services built around the group’s needs. NASASA is tasked by its members to solve this problem, and we have identified Sanlam as the most suitable partner in this regard.”

Mtshali says this venture will also facilitate job creation, which is key to socioeconomic inclusion, “For South Africans, this opportunity provides meaningful employment particularly in the township economy. Not only is this a step towards financial inclusion, but a giant leap towards societal transformation”

Down the line, NASASA Financial Services is aiming to extend its offering to include life cover as well as short-term products like household insurance and is investigating the potential of integrating other banking products.

Content provided by Sanlam

Continue Reading

Economy

Why The High Number Of Employees Quitting Reveals A Strong Job Market

Published

on

By

While recession fears may be looming in the minds of some, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the economy and job market may actually be strengthening.

The quits rate—or the percentage of all employees who quit during a given month—rose to 2.4% in July, according to the BLS’s Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover report, released Tuesday. That translates to 3.6 million people who voluntarily left their jobs in July.

This is the highest the quits rate has been since April 2001, just five months after the Labor Department began tracking it. According to Nick Bunker, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, the quits rate tends to be a reflection of the state of the economy.

READ MORE | 5 Things You Should Do The Night Before A Job Interview

“The level of the quits rate really is a sign of how strong the labor market is,” he says. “If you look at the quits rate over time, it really drops quite a bit when the labor market gets weak. During the recession it was quite low, and now it’s picked up.”

The monthly jobs report, released last week, revealed that the economy gained 130,000 jobs in August, which is 20,000 less than expected, and just a few weeks earlier, the BLS issued a correction stating that it had overestimated by 501,000 how many jobs had been added to the market in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. Yet despite all that, employees still seem to have confidence in the job market.Today In: Leadership

The quits level, according to the BLS, increased in the private sector by 127,000 for July but was little changed in government. Healthcare and social assistance saw an uptick in departures to the tune of 54,000 workers, while the federal government saw a rise of 3,000.

READ MORE | 5 Questions You Should Never Ask During A Job Interview

The July quits rate in construction was 2.4%, while the number in trade, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality were 2.6%, 3.1% and 4.8%, respectively. Bunker of Indeed says that the industries that tend to see the highest rate of departuresare those where pay is relatively low, such as leisure and hospitality. An unknown is whether employees are quitting these jobs to go to a new industry or whether they’re leaving for another job in the same industry. Either could be the case, says Bunker.

In a recently published article on the industries seeing the most worker departures, Bunker attributes the uptick to two factors—the strong labor market and faster wage growth in the industries concerned: “A stronger labor market means employers must fill more openings from the ranks of the already employed, who have to quit their jobs, instead of hiring jobless workers. Similarly, faster wage growth in an industry signals workers that opportunities abound and they might get higher pay by taking a new job.”

Even so, recession fears still dominate headlines. According to Bunker, the data shows that when a recession hits, employers pull back on hiring and workers don’t have the opportunity to find new jobs. Thus, workers feel less confident and are less likely to quit.

READ MORE | South Africa’s Informal Sector: Why People Get Stuck In Precarious Jobs

“As the labor market gets stronger, there’s more opportunities for workers who already have jobs. So they quit to go to new jobs or they quit in the hopes of getting new jobs again,” Bunker says. He also notes that recession fears may have little to do with the job market, instead stemming from what is happening in the financial markets, international relations or Washington, D.C.

So what does the BLS report say about the job market? “Taking this report as a whole, it’s indicating that the labor market is still quite strong, but then we lost momentum,” Bunker says. While workers are quitting their jobs, he says that employers are pulling back on the pace at which they’re adding jobs. “While things are quite good right now and workers are taking advantage of that,” he notes, “those opportunities moving forward might be fewer and fewer if the trend keeps up.”

-Samantha Todd; Forbes

Continue Reading

Trending