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The mystery of South Africa's ghost workers in 1996: measurement and mismeasurement in the manufacturing census, population census and October Household Surveys

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  • Martin Wittenberg

    () (School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

Abstract

This paper compares estimates of total manufacturing employment from South Africa's 1996 manufacturing census, the 1996 population census and the October Household Surveys from 1995, 1996 and 1997. Findings show that there are 300 000 too few manufacturing workers recorded in the 1996 population census. Furthermore there are other inconsistencies between these data sources. Several possible explanations for the deficit in manufacturing workers are put forward, but none are compelling. It is concluded that aggregate employment series constructed from household surveys should be treated with caution.

Suggested Citation

  • 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," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 095, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:cssrwp:095
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 1999. "Levels, trends and consistency of employment and unemployment figures in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 3-35.
    2. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 2009. "Surviving Unemployment Without State Support: Unemployment and Household Formation in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(1), pages 1-51, January.
    3. Conradie, Beatrice, 2005. "Wages and wage elasticities for wine and table grapes in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(1), March.
    4. Haroon Bhorat, 2003. "The Post-Apartheid Challenge: Labour Demand Trends in the South African Labour Market, 1995-1999," Working Papers 03082, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ilo:ilowps:484770 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Finn, Arden & Leibbrandt, Murray & Oosthuizen, Morne, 2014. "Poverty, inequality, and prices in post-apartheid South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 127, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Wittenberg, Martin., 2014. "Analysis of employment, real wage, and productivity trends in South Africa since 1994," ILO Working Papers 994847703402676, International Labour Organization.

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