3 million jobs lost during the lockdown, says report

The CRAM survey assessed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on employment, among other things.

According to the National Income Dynamics Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM),  which was released on Wednesday, approximately three million people lost their jobs over the lockdown period, representing an 18 percent decline in employment from 17 million people employed in February, to 14 million people employed in April 2020.

The study surveyed 7,000 South Africans and can be considered the most nationally representative survey that currently exists when it comes to assessing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on employment and welfare.

Thirty social science researchers from five SA universities helped to put together the study, which spans 11 reports with findings on health, employment and hunger and welfare. At least four more surveys are expected to be conducted this year to serve as a barometer of the impact of the pandemic on households.  

Even though the researchers estimated that between 2.5 million and 3.6 million people lost their jobs over the period, the report points out that it was somewhat difficult to define ’employment’ in the current environment given the number of furloughed workers and temporary layoffs.

“The proportion of adults who earned an income in February declined by 33 percent which is made up of a roughly equal share of those who lost their job and those who were furloughed," reads the report, which also revealed a 40 percent decline in ‘active employment’ also split equally between those who were laid off and those who were either furloughed or on paid leave.