More than 2 million jobs lost in lockdown
South Africa shed 2.2 million jobs during the second quarter, according to Statistics South Africa.
While the employment figures reflected the largest decline in employment between the second and first quarter since 2008, Stats SA on Tuesday said unemployment fell substantially as well, decreasing by 2.8 million to 4.3 million.
The official employment rate is now 23.3%, compared to the first quarter’s 30.1%.
However economists say the expanded rate of unemployment – which include those who were discouraged from looking for work – is more realistic, and has risen to above 42%.
Netcare treated only six Covid-19 state patients
In a trading update, Netcare says that Covid-related hospital admissions, length of stay and mortality rates have so far been lower than anticipated. Covid-19 cases comprised around 7% of patient days in the past 11 months, and Netcare treated only six Covid-19 state patients.
The average length of stay for Covid-19 patients requiring a critical care bed peaked at 17 days and is now approximately six days.
The hospital group was hit by the suspension of elective surgeries during the height of the lockdown. Its revenue fell by almost 13% in the past eleven months, while its operating profit declined by 62%.
“Throughout the lockdown period, there was a notable decline in respiratory cases, while emergency and trauma-related activity fell sharply,” Netcare said in a statement.
Average occupancy of its hospitals is around 50% this month.
ArcelorMittal to restart furnace after recovery in steel demand
ArcelorMittal South Africa will restart its second blast furnace in Vanderbijlpark in January. This will add around 600 000 tons of additional annual flat steel production volumes.
ArcelorMittal SA says steel demand had increased thanks to construction projects and stronger retail sales.
The furnace has been idle since July.
Big cut in diesel prices expected for next week
Despite a weakening in the rand – last at R17.04/$ – fuel prices look set for a cut in a week’s time. The latest calculation from the Central Energy Fund projects a 32c/litre decrease in 95 petrol (24c for 93 petrol), while diesel is on track for a cut of more than 90c.