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Type Working Paper - NIDS-CRAM Working Paper
Title Labour market dynamics in South Africa in the time of COVID-19: Evidence from Waves 1 and 2 of the NIDS-CRAM survey
Issue 13
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2020
This paper is an update to Ranchhod and Daniels (2020). It uses Wave 2 of NIDS-CRAM to conduct an evaluation of the state of the South African labour market in June 2020, when the country was in Stage 3 of the national lockdown. We compare these outcomes to corresponding outcomes from April 2020, when the country was in Stage 5 of lockdown, as well as against a pre-lockdown baseline of February 2020. In our first paper, we reported that a major new feature of the South African labour market associated with the lockdown was the introduction of a large number of “furloughed workers”. These are individuals who retain an employment relationship with their employers, but receive either less pay or no payment at all, due to the impossibility of working in certain occupations and industries that are prohibited from trading under lockdown regulations. The findings from Wave 2 suggest that while some recovery of the South African labour market has taken place between April and June, we are still a long way off from the pre-lockdown levels of employment that were observed in February. In addition, there is also an extremely high degree of churning in the labour market between April and June. These net changes remain inequality enhancing rather than inequality-reducing. These results are somewhat understandable given that Statistics South Africa estimated in September 2020 that GDP in the second quarter of 2020 had reduced significantly. This paper therefore makes a timely contribution to our understanding of the unfolding labour market impacts of the pandemic and lockdowns as we charter a path towards improving the resilience of the economy.

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