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The Post-Apartheid Challenge: Labour Demand Trends in the South African Labour Market, 1995-1999


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  • Haroon Bhorat

    (Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town)


The paper attempts to provide a descriptive overview of absolute and relative shifts in labour demand in the South African economy over the post-apartheid period, 1995-1999. The paper debunks the myth that the domestic economy is characterised by ‘jobless growth’ in this period. However, it does reveal that the rate of job creation has been far below the growth of the labour force, yielding a relatively poor employment performance for the South African economy. In particular, the analysis shows that the economy is a poor creator of low-end jobs. The second segment of the paper attempts to ascribe, using an established labour demand decomposition methodology, reasons for these labour demand shifts. It is clear that the adoption of new technologies, relative to structural changes in the economy, have remained the dominant determinant of the economys employment trajectory. One key exogenous factor though, has impacted on employment changes in this period namely the process of intensive process of public sector restructuring.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit in its series Working Papers with number 03082.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working Paper Series by the Development Policy Research Unit, August 2003, pages 1-24
Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:03082

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Related research

Keywords: South Africa: Labour Demand Trends; post-apartheid; ‘jobless growth’; public sector restructuring;

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  1. H. Bhorat & J. Hodge, 1999. "Decomposing Shifts in Labour Demand in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 67(3), pages 155-168, 09.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Wittenberg, 2007. "Dissecting post-apartheid labour market developments: Decomposing a discrete choice model while dealing with unobservables," Working Papers 46, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  2. Martin Wittenberg, 2004. "The Mystery Of South Africa'S Ghost Workers In 1996: Measurement And Mismeasurement In The Manufacturing Census, Population Census And October Household Surveys," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 1003-1022, December.
  3. Rulof Burger & Ingrid Woolard, 2005. "The State of the Labour Market in South Africa after the First Decade of Democracy," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 133, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  4. Jeremy Seekings & Murray Leibbrandt & Nicoli Nattrass, 2004. "Income inequality after apartheid," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 075, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.


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