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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - NIDS-CRAM Working Paper
Title Age, employment and labour force participation outcomes in COVID-era South Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
In this paper we use data from waves 1 to 5 of NIDS-CRAM to investigate employment and labour force participation outcomes in South Africa for four different age groups: youth (aged 18 to 24),
prime-age adults (aged 25-39), middle-age adults (aged 40-54) and older adults (aged 55-64). We contrast outcomes just before and just after the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown
(February and April 2020) with outcomes one year later (March 2021), and study transitions between the periods. We find that although the employment-to-population ratio in March 2021 was near identical to the ratio in February 2020 (56.6% versus 56.4%), there had been a lot of churn between the two periods, with 23% of the February employed no longer employed a year later, and 30% of those without employment finding employment by March 2021. Youth experienced the largest employment-to-population ratio increase between February 2020 and March 2021 (32.5% to 35%), whereas older
adults experienced the largest decrease from 45% to 41%. Between April 2020 (the peak of lockdown restrictions) and March 2021 there were decreases in the share of discouraged work seekers across
age groups, and simultaneous increases in labour force participation for all groups except older adults. Tentative findings based on industry data revealed that the industries with the most notable increases in employment totals were the community, social and personal services and wholesale and retail trade industries. These industries also displayed high or increasing youth intensity of
employment, potentially explaining part of the positive youth outcomes observed in NIDS-CRAM.

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