Statistics South Africa has released the latest Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for the second quarter of 2022, showing what workers are being paid across different sectors across the country.
Data shows that the average monthly earnings paid to non-farm formal sector employees increased by 3.7% quarter-on-quarter, from R23,697 in February 2022 to R24,578 in May 2022.
Year-on-year, the average monthly wage paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector increased by 4.0%.
Gross income paid to employees increased by R0.5 billion or 0.1% from R786.8 billion in March 2022 to R787.3 billion in June 2022. This was largely due by increases in the following sectors: transport, community services, trade, construction and mining.
However, declines were observed in the following industries: business services, manufacturing and electrical.
Year-on-year gross revenue increased by R33.6 billion or 4.5% between June 2021 and June 2022.
Wages/basic wages paid to employees increased by R10.3 billion or 1.5% from R706.7 billion in March 2022 to R717 billion in June 2022. Year-on-year wages /base salaries increased by R26.2 billion or 3.8% between June 2021 and June 2022.
Recent data released by the Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing at the University of Cape Town showed that a household needs to earn around R22,000 to be considered middle class in South Africa.
This would mean that the average non-agricultural worker formally employed in the country would fall into this class category. It also lines up with FNB data, which gives a broader definition of someone earning between R15,000 and R40,000 per month.
Although this may seem like a relatively high number, the middle class in South Africa is under extreme pressure, often having to pay double for private services – that is, after paying taxes – such as safety and health care. Consumers in this category are also highly leveraged, paying off bonds, vehicle financing and credit.
FNB data estimates that it takes middle-income consumers across the country just five days to spend up to 80% of their monthly salary. This suggests that the average middle-income consumer, earning between R180,000 and R500,000 a year, survives on 20% of their monthly salary for more than 20 days a month.
Employment and Jobs
EQS data reflects the number of people receiving wages and does not reflect employment/unemployment trends, which are covered by the quarterly Labor Force Survey.
QES data showed total employment fell by 119,000 or 1.2% quarter-on-quarter, from 10,067,000 in March 2022 to 9,948,000 in June 2022. largely by declines in the following sectors: community services (-100,000 or -3.4%), business services (-15,000 or -0.6%), construction (-13,000 or -2 .4%), manufacturing (-12,000 or -1.0%) and electricity (-1,000 or -1.7%).
However, there were increases in the following industries: trade (17,000 or 0.8%), mining (4,000 or 0.9%) and transportation (1,000 or 0.2%).
Total employment increased by 74,000 or 0.7% year-on-year between June 2021 and June 2022.
The last QLFS Surveymeanwhile, shows that the official unemployment rate was 33.9% in the second quarterby 34.5% during the previous reference period, recovering 0.6 percentage points.
The unemployment rate, under the broad definition of unemployment, also fell by 1.4 percentage points to 44.1% in Q2:2022 compared to Q1:2022.
Read: How much do you need to earn to be part of the “middle class” in South Africa