Highlights of WageIndicator Living and Working in Coronavirus Times Survey: South Africa in lockdown for second time: 20 % reported job loss - July 19, 2020

South Africa in lockdown for second time: 20 % reported job loss

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Since mid July South Africa is in lockdown for the second time. People again are forced to stay at home, including those who have no alternative but the street to make some money. At the start of this second lockdown the second largest economy of Africa is in a very bad shape, after 4 consecutive months of shrinkage. Tourism, a big earner of foreign exchange and job provider, virtually collapsed. By now people go hungry. Some figures from the corona living and working survey, online since March 23, mark the situation in which the new wave of restrictions deals blows to the subsistence base of many South Africans. Thus: from the
beginning of the pandemic 1 in 2 respondents reported a decrease in their workload, against 1 in 5 who said it increased. This gap already points to an overall slowdown of economic activity and loss of earning power. Quite in line is the fact that 1 in 5 (till mid July) reported to have lost their job.

The economy of South Africa may be formalised, yet it has a huge informal sector. Figures suggest that people who depend on odd jobs and irregular work are hit the most. Though 43% of respondents reported working from home, it may be assumed that these are mainly employees with a steady job. Contrast these figures: under lockdown first wave, 29% said they stayed at home, but 71% said they didn't. This huge discrepancy, given also the risk entailed in neglecting lock down restrictions, points to the dire straits in which a large part of South Africa's working population finds itself at the start of the second lock down since the pandemic broke out. Locking them in once more will rob them of the only means of livelihood open to them: sell their labour on street corners or peddle their snacks and trinkets there.

This picture emerges from the Working and Living in Corona-times Survey, online since March 23, in which 25,000 respondents from 70 countries participated, till July 19.

Quote of the day, Data Base manager, female, 64, South Africa

The government has imposed draconian rules without concern for the economy or health of it's population. People are going to starve . The ban on cigarettes and alcohol is ridiculous and will take tax away from the government and create an illegal underworld riddled with crime. our police are violent

What will the new work/life ‘normal’ become?

The Work Life Survey in Corona Times shows the impact people from across the globe expect the corona crisis will have on their working life. Regularly special issues like countries, continents, occupations, happiness, fear, small hous or having a dog are highlighted on these pages.

Its global outreach allows WageIndicator to present findings for many countries. Daily updated national survey results may be consulted here:

It is the intention to continue the survey for a long time, well into the aftermath of the present crisis. What will the new work/life ‘normal’ become?

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