Jobs haemorrhage likely to continue, say economists

BusinessLive spoke to economists who believe reskilling is the key to surviving the wave of job losses.

Economists are quoted in the BusinessLive article saying they believed that South Africa was yet to grasp the full impact of the pandemic on the economy with retrenchments expected to continue until at least the end of this year. The Nedbank Economic Unit in particular states that they expect about 1.6 million job losses.

According to the article, the economic devastation and job losses caused by the Covid-19 lockdown will continue to rage on for the foreseeable future. Recent unemployment figures from Stats SA stated that the first quarter the unemployment rate for those in the 15-34 age group was 43.2 percent and up to 59 percent for those in the 15-24 age group.

First National Bank economist Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya says the South African economy will take about five years to recover. Meanwhile, the significant loss of tax revenue, which included the loss in personal income tax and reduced VAT due to lower consumer spending, would dampen ability to stimulate the economy using the fiscus. 

Sanisha Packirisamy, an economist at Momentum Investments says companies must re-skill their people as this would be key to preventing long-term unemployment, especially given the increasing trends of mechanisation and automation could speed up in sectors that can easily substitute labour with capital.