National Treasury now estimates that job losses could be between 690 000 and 1.79 million due to the impact of Covid-19 on the SA economy.
Initially, in a presentation circulated among members of the Standing Committee on Finance on 30 April, Treasury indicated that between three million and seven million job losses were expected, which would have seen unemployment levels balloon to nearly 50%.
In its revision, the presentation now indicates that 690 000 job losses are likely in the event of a quick recovery. While 1.79 million jobs could be lost in a worst-case scenario. A full time equivalent measure was used this time, to take into account businesses that may be making use of furloughs, among other measures, to mitigate the impact on jobs, Treasury said.
During the last global recession in 2008-09, SA lost one million jobs.
Sectors that will be mostly affected are manufacturing, construction, trade, catering and accommodation and financial and business services.
Treasury also projects an economic contraction of between 5.4% and 16.1%. Updated projections are expected to be presented at the tabling of the adjusted budget later this month.
The Reserve Bank projects a contraction of 7%, which would be the worst performance since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
At a briefing to members of the South African National Editor’s Forum on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that Covid-19 has presented an opportunity to restructure the economy to one which is more inclusive and addresses issues in society such as poverty and inequality, Fin24 reported.
“We have been operating under an economy which has been colonial and racist, over the many years,” he said. “Covid-19 gives a stronger rationale to transform and restructure the economy,” he added.