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It’s Friday again and many of us are wagging our tails, so to speak. There is usually a sense of relief and anticipation on this time of the week as people look forward to being at home and enjoying a break from the office.

Spare a thought for the many who are without employment at this time, some 30.8% of the working population (which, as we are sometimes reminded, doesn’t include those who are discouraged and are no longer pursuing the search for jobs).

At least when we travel to work (or even better, work from home), we know that there will be tasks to accomplish, things to tick off our list before we return again. Imagine heading to town and there is no guarantee that the trip will bear any results at all! I wonder how you would experience the day’s being a Friday.

For those wishing to follow up on the employment figures released this week, take a listen to 702’s “Unemployment jumps to 30.8%, 1.6m fewer people with jobs than in Q3/2019“.

This morning, the Agbiz newsletter includes the article “SA agricultural employment held up in Q3, 2020, but there are disparities across provinces“. Employment is at 807 882, an improvement of 1% from the last quarter. Employment in the Western and Northern Cape fell by 31% and 15% quarter-on-quarter, respectively. These provinces are the major producers of wine and these results have been expected following the Covid-19-related ban on wine sales. In fact, we are told, agricultural employment is at the lowest levels since the last quarter of 2014, at 136 729.

Employment in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo picked up compared to last year this time, attributed to 2020 being “a boom agriculture year in terms of output in almost all subsectors (horticulture, field crops and livestock)” (Agbiz, 2020). The view ahead is positive for Agbiz. The expected La Niña should lead to increased activity in the field, with employment sustained at levels of at least 750 000. Concern is expressed for the wine industry, the effects of the lockdown will be long lasting, which will have implications for agricultural employment in the Western and Northern Cape provinces.

Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

Relevant pages in Agribook.Digital include “Labour and agriculture” and “Wine and wine grapes“.

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