Power lines feed electricity to the national grid
Power lines feed electricity to the national grid from Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
  • The average monthly earnings in South Africa rose to R21,432 at the end of May this year, according to new Statistics SA data.
  • This was 4.9% higher than a year earlier, which meant salaries barely kept up with inflation.
  • But workers in the electricity sector saw a large annual increase of 8.7%, and on average earned almost R44,000.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The average monthly earnings (including bonuses and overtime payments) of South African employees rose to R21,432 at the end of May this year – 4.9% higher than a year earlier, according to new Statistics SA data. The consumer inflation rate for May was 4.5%, which means that salary hikes just barely kept up.

But workers in the electricity industry saw a large annual increase of 8.7%, the Quarterly Employment Statistics survey showed. Contributing was Eskom’s agreement with unions last year to grant a 7.5% wage hike. The average monthly earnings in the electricity sector reached R43,487 in May - the highest of all the sectors surveyed.

This was the average monthly earnings in other industries:

Transport, storage and communication: R25,538

Mining industry: R25,139

Financial sector: R24 036

Manufacturing: R18,798

Construction: R16,752

Trade (wholesale, retail, hotels and restaurant workers):  R14,266

The transport industry reported the largest increase of 6.7% in average monthly earnings in the second quarter compared with the first quarter of 2019.

Source: Statistics SA

Read: South Africa has one of the longest workweeks in the world - here's how we compare

The QES shows that in the second quarter of the year, almost 10.2m people were employed, 2 000 fewer than in the first quarter of the year – but 141 000 more than a year ago.

In the past quarter to end-June alone, 16 000 jobs were lost in the construction sector – there are now 30 000 fewer workers in the construction industry than a year ago. But community services (including civil servants, health workers as well as part-time workers for the elections this year) and the mining industry reported increases of 44 000 and 3 000 jobs respectively over the past quarter.

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