Employment in the industry has increased by 1.8% over the last 12 months

Employment in the industry has increased by 1.8% over the last 12 months

The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) has welcomed figures showing an increase in employment in the country's clothing, textile, footwear and leather manufacturing industry. 

According to data from Stats SA's Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), employment stood at just over 90,100 workers in the three months to the end of September.  

Over the last 12 months, employment in the industry has increased by 1.8%, the figures revealed. This was driven by growth in the clothing sector (676 new jobs), the textile sector (1,197 new jobs) and the leather sector (268 new jobs).

The employment numbers for the third quarter are the highest for the past 30 months, SACTWU said, with figures for employment in March last year just above 87,300 workers.

"Although the recent increases in employment remain small, they stand in contrast to the enormous levels of job losses which decimated the industry for over two decades," the union said.

"They also compare favourably to the declining fortunes of the manufacturing sector as a whole, in which employment decreased by 0.3% over the same recent 12-month period. This reinforces SACTWU's opinion that the CTFL manufacturing industry is entering a new period of greater stability, and hopefully higher levels of growth," it added.

Much of the positive employment numbers are a result of strong support for the industry from the South African government since 2009, coupled with the union's "aggressive" Save Jobs campaign,  SACTWU said.

"Significantly, this is the second consecutive quarter that employment in our industry has grown, following the 3% increase recorded in the previous quarter."