Job Creation and Destruction in South Africa


Analysts of the South African labour market have predominantly used household surveys to analyse the labour market. It has been more difficult to explore labour demand from the firm side, as a result of limited data from relatively small cross sectional firm surveys, mainly funded by the World Bank. We use the Quarterly Employment Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa that allows us to explore how South African enterprises create and destroy jobs, shedding light on many of the policy questions that are relevant in a high unemployment society like South Africa. We find job creation and destruction rates are similar to those found in OECD countries. There is little evidence that labour legislation creates rigidities that prevent firms from hiring or firing workers. We also find that larger firms are better net creators of jobs than small firms and that net job creation rates are negative in manufacturing, consistent with work using household surveys. Our research has important policy implications - particularly for the National Planning Commission's suggestion that new jobs will come mainly from small and medium sized firms. Our research suggests this is not likely without changes to policy or legislation.


Kerr, A.; Wittenberg, M.; Arrow, J. Job Creation and Destruction in South Africa. SALDRU, University ofCape Town, Cape Town, South Africa (2013) 33 pp. ISBN 978-1-920517-33-5 [Southern AfricaLabour and Development Research Unit Working Paper Number 92]

Job Creation and Destruction in South Africa

Published 1 January 2013