The average monthly net salary in South Africa fell in March, according to BankservAfrica’s latest Home Pay Index (BTPI), but it is slightly higher than the same period last year.
South Africa’s real take-home pay rose only 0.7% in March 2021, with the average wage reaching R 15 092 in nominal terms and R12,749 in real terms.
Growth in March 2021 came out of the low base of March 2020 when the country was placed under strict lockdown.
“The good news is that the average take-home pay has returned to the pre-Covid-19 trend,” BankservAfrica said. “The number of employees in the larger payment system of formal employers in large companies has quickly recovered with the reopening of the economy.”
When the hard lockdown began in March 2020, the BTPI registered a small number of formal economy employees who were already in arrears. This was particularly noticeable among employees paid weekly and daily, the group said.
The last four days of March 2020 included a Friday and a Monday (which are two important days for weekly payments) when South Africa was already on lockdown. Data from BankservAfrica subsequently recorded a drop in the number of daily and weekly payments made to employees.
In March 2021, a slight increase in the number of weekly and monthly net payments was observed, while daily payments continue on a downward trend.
“Overall, the number of net payments in March 2021 was slightly higher than in March 2020. The year-over-year variation was less than 1%, which we believe is significant. the turning point in improving employment figures from the depth of the pandemic. Construction is gradually returning to normal, ”he said.
Chief economist at economists.co.za, Mike Schüssler said changing wage trends can be attributed to 95% of private sector jobs at large companies that have recovered.
“But, with daily and weekly payments still far below normal, it can be assumed that small businesses and the informal sector still have a long way to go to recover,” he said.
Thus, the current improvements are still seen as a “recovery” – with actual employment figures still remaining slightly below the construction average.
According to BankservAfrica data, total salaries and pensions paid increased by 1.8% in real terms compared to March 2020. But the overall amount is 6% lower in nominal terms than in March 2019.
“We believe that another test of the actual economic recovery will come when the final TERS and disaster relief payments have been made by the government,” said Schüssler. “The new real growth in the economy is probably a little distant, but it has been faster than one might expect and should help consumer spending.”
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