The latest National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM) has found 2 million women lost their jobs between February to April this year, and most of the affected were already “disadvantaged” black women.
This was revealed in the survey, which showed that 3 million South Africans lost their jobs between February and April.
The NIDS-CRAM study was conducted by 30 social science researchers from five South African universities – UCT, Stellenbosch, Wits, Rhodes and UJ.
The survey found that a majority of those who lost their jobs were already “disadvantaged” people and two out of three of those that lost their job was a woman.
The percentage of respondents experiencing net job loss or furlough (an employment relationship but no income) in the working-age population: February to April 2020.
“Job losses were disproportionately concentrated among the already disadvantaged groups in the labour market,” the survey noted.
It said women were at a “double disadvantage”.
“Of the approximately 3 million net job losses between February and April, women accounted for 2 million, even though in February they only accounted for less than half of the workforce.
“Of those women who were employed in both February and April, almost half of them reported working fewer or no hours in April.
“Among those groups of people that were already disadvantaged in the labour market, and already faced a disproportionate share of job losses from the pandemic (the less educated, the poor, Black Africans and informal workers), women in these groups faced even further job losses putting them at a ‘double disadvantage’,” the report said.
The survey also said many of those who had lost their jobs lived in households where at least one other person received a grant in the form of child support or an old-age pension.
But three out of every 10 came from households where there was no household grant.
Researchers said the month of April was seen as the peak for the Covid-19 lockdown, as it had the most industries that were restricted from working and forced to close down after the government instituted a stringent level 5 lockdown.
For data on the The NIDS-CRAM Wave 1 report, researchers explained that the data was collected during the government’s rollout of special Covid-19 social relief of distress grants.
The report acknowledged that “much of the government relief that has subsequently been implemented had not been fully realized at the time of the survey”.
“It was also before much of the economy reopened in early June. The subsequent four waves of NIDS-CRAM (Wave 2-5) will continue to report on employment and grant receipt for these same individuals over the period June-December 2020.
“As a result, the panel nature of the NIDS-CRAM study will be able to assess the labour-market dynamics in the lockdown and post-lockdown period, as well as measure the household welfare impacts of new employment and receipt of the new government relief grants.
“The NIDS-CRAM data can therefore be seen as one barometer to measure changes over time during this turbulent time,” researchers said.