A Few Notes on the Latest SA Agricultural Jobs Data

I tweeted about South Africa’s agriculture’s jobs earlier but I felt compelled to formalise it into a short blog post. Today Statistics South Africa released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey data, which basically showed a 3 percent year-on-year decline in agricultural employment in the first quarter of 2018 to 847 000 jobs.

This was driven by a reduction in employment in the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo (see featured image). 

While the reduction in employment for the Western Cape due to drought is comprehensible, it defies logic for the provinces where weather conditions have been relatively favourable since the end of the 2015/16 drought.

In terms of sub-sector performance, the reduction in annual employment was recorded in almost all agricultural sub-sectors (aquaculture, game farming, animal husbandry, livestock, field crops and horticulture), with the exception of forestry, logging and related services.

Without delving into the practicalities, it is worth highlighting that today’s data shows that South Africa is still far behind its target of creating a million agricultural jobs by 2030, as envisaged in the National Development Plan. I discussed this issue briefly in this piece.

Anyways – I must run, I am needed in the kitchen…

 Follow me on Twitter (@WandileSihlobo), or email me at wandile@agbiz.co.za

Author: Wandile Sihlobo

Wandile Sihlobo is an agricultural economist and head of agribusiness research at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) in South Africa. He is a columnist for Business Day and Farmers Weekly magazine. Sihlobo is a member of the South African Agricultural Economics Association. He has previously served as an economist at Grain South Africa. He holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.

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