Cape Town’s surge in jobs defies drought

Jobs - [Google Images]

Despite a crippling drought, which saw Cape Town come close to running out of water, employment in the city grew nearly 5% over the past year.

Employment in the metro grew 4.8% year on year, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter released by Statistics SA earlier this week.

In terms of the number of jobs, this was the second-largest growth among the eight metros in the country, with 74,000 jobs year on year. It was surpassed only by Johannesburg, which added 86,000 jobs.

Economist Mike Schussler said Cape Town’s growth was “almost unbelievable”, given the drought and the political instability in the metro.

“Cape Town’s growing employment is a testament to the city’s efforts to create an enabling environment for businesses to invest and to create new jobs – despite many challenges, including the drought and the crippling Metrorail service interruptions,” mayor Patricia de Lille said on Thursday.

Out of the 74,000 jobs created in Cape Town, the formal sector grew by 50,000 jobs and the informal sector by 12,000 jobs. Agriculture added 5,000 jobs, while private households added 7,000.

Western Cape economic development MEC Alan Winde credited foreign direct investment, local investment and the information and communications technology industry for the formal sector growth.

De Lille said 1.29-million people are formally employed in Cape Town, while 184,000 worked informally.

In Johannesburg employment boomed in the informal sector, adding 65,000 jobs, while 9,000 jobs were added to the formal sector and 17,000 by households. Agriculture, however, lost 5,000 jobs.

Both Ekurhuleni and Tshwane shed 46,000 jobs. In Ekurhuleni, jobs were lost across all sectors, with 12,000 in the formal sector and 26,000 in the informal sector.

In Tshwane, a massive 32,000 jobs were shed from private households, while the informal sector lost 15,000 jobs. There was no change in the formal sector or in agriculture.