Business lobby group, Business for South Africa, has urged South Africans and businesses to continue with precautions in work and public life as the economic devastation wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic rages on.
In a statement released yesterday, B4SA said it expected the national Covid-19 infection rate to peak during August 2020, while daily mortalities will peak by late-August or early September.
B4SA said South African businesses were already in distress and it now expects about 1,5 million further job losses by the end of the year.
“The steep and dramatic surge in new infections indicates that we are now well along the upward trajectory of the infection curve, with South Africa recording the fifth highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world,” the group said.
The head of B4SA’s economic working group, Martin Kingston, said the organisation expected the infection rate to have “a long tail-off” and for the virus to remain a reality of daily life for up to two more years.
“Against our latest modelling scenarios, we expect that it will take a minimum of two years for the South African economy to recover to pre-Covi-19 levels, keeping in mind that South Africa’s economy was already weak at the start of 2020,” said Kingston.
Leadership and workplace culture could be “powerful factors” in ensuring employee and customer protection, said the group.
Meanwhile, total employment in SA’s non-agricultural formal sector fell by 3 000 between December 2019 and March 2020, Statistics SA announced yesterday in its latest Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) bulletin.
The QES results are based on a sample survey conducted by Stats SA and include findings on employment in the non-agricultural formal sector.
The figures published yesterday do not include the impact of the lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
According to Stats SA, the decrease in employment was due to falls in trade (-17 000), construction (-14 000) and manufacturing (-2 000 ).
However, there were increases in community services (17 000); business services (8 000), mining (3 000) and transport (2 000).
According to Stats SA, there were 10 234 000 people employed in SA’s non-agricultural sector in December 2019, and 10 231 000 in March 2020.
The QES bulletin is separate from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which is also published by Stats SA.
While the labour force survey gives SA’s official unemployment rate, the QES gives a snapshot of total non-agricultural formal sector employment. According to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey, South Africa has an official unemployment rate of 30,1 percent, the highest rate in the past decade. – Fin24