In the first quarter of 2016, the South African economy shed 15 000 jobs in all sectors, except construction and community services, according to the Quarterly Employment Survey.
Employment therefore declined by 0.2% to 9.2 million people in the formal non-agricultural sector of the economy.
The Quarterly Employment Survey collects data from the mining, manufacturing, electricity and gas, construction, retail, business and community and personal services sector, and measures the level of employment and earnings per sector.
It should not be confused with the rate of employment reflected in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey.
Statistician-general Pali Lehohla released the latest figures on Monday, which showed that the largest percentage of job losses took place in the retail, hotel and restaurant sector.
In the retail trade sector, 27 000 jobs were lost, while 7 000 people were retrenched in the hotels and restaurants industry.
Employment in the mining sector contracted for the sixth consecutive quarter by 4 000 employees in the first quarter of 2016.
Finance and business services lost 9 000 jobs after employment rose by 42 000 in the last quarter of 2015.
There was also a 4% decline in earnings for the quarter ended March 2016 – from R545bn to R523bn.
These decreases were recorded in all industries, except the business services industry. Statistics SA ascribed the changes in gross earnings to the absence of bonuses and overtime that were paid to employees in the last quarter of 2015.