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People staying in jobs for longer: StatsSA

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The amount of time people stay in their jobs in South Africa has increased since 2008, Statistics SA said on Tuesday.

“It can provide an indication of the rigidity or mobility of the labour market, and also the ease with which employees can move between jobs,” deputy director general for population and social statistics, Kefiloe Masiteng, told reporters in Pretoria.

Higher job tenure was generally associated with older workers, union members, and managerial occupations.

The average job tenure in 2014 in South Africa was 47 months, the highest it had been since 2008.

In 2008, with GDP growth at 3.6 percent, job tenure was on average 36 months.

This increased to 42 months (2009), 44 months (2010), and 46 months (2011, 2012), before dropping to 45 months in 2013.

GDP growth was -1.5 percent (2009), 3.1 percent (2010), 3.6 percent (2011), 2.5 percent (2012), 1.9 percent (2013), and 1.3 percent (2014).

“Weaker economic growth did not translate into declines in median monthly job tenure,” Masiteng said.

“This could be due to the first-in, first-out; last-in, last-out principle, while weaker economic growth conditions also led to less job-hopping because companies are not hiring.”

Gauteng had the longest average job tenure in 2014, at 55 months, compared to 45 months in 2008.

For 2014, South Africa’s economic heartland was followed by the North West (52 months), Free State (47), Western Cape (47), KwaZulu-Natal (45), Mpumalanga (44), Eastern Cape (42), Limpopo (41), and the Northern Cape (27).

Among South Africa’s different population groups, whites had the highest average job tenure in 2014, at 69 months, followed by Indians and Asians (67), coloureds (49), and blacks (44).

In 2008, whites stayed in the same job for an average of 67 months, followed by Indians and Asians (46), coloureds (44), and black Africans (32).

Earlier, Masiteng said South Africa’s official unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2014 dropped 1.1 percentage point to 24.3 percent.

A total of 242,000 people found work in the fourth quarter last year. A total of 4.9m people were officially unemployed.

The official unemployment rate is made up of those who are jobless, but actively looking for work.

The expanded unemployment rate, which includes people who have given up looking for a job, was 34.6 percent, or 8.1m people.

In 2008, the official unemployment rate was 23.2 percent, while the expanded rate was 30.9 percent.

In 2011, the official rate was 25.6 percent, with the expanded unemployment rate at 36.3 percent, which Masiteng said showed there had been an increase in discouraged job seekers. SAPA

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