Picture: THE TIMES
Picture: THE TIMES

With an economy in recession and an unemployment rate edging towards 30%, companies will be hesitant to take on more employees, a survey showed.

The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2018 remained at 6%, suggesting that the hiring intentions of companies were unchanged compared with the previous quarter.

According to the survey, just 14% of employers are expecting to increase staffing levels while 8% forecasting a decrease and 78% anticipate no change.

"SA’s economy continues to be weighed down by slower-than-expected economic growth, which can translate into employers being cautious about hiring and spending-related activity, especially in the run up to the year end holiday season," said ManpowerGroup MD Lyndy van den Barselaar.

This is despite job gains expected in nine of the 10 sectors during the coming quarter.

The survey is based on a representative sample of 750 employers.

KwaZulu-Natal reported the strongest hiring intentions for the last quarter of the year with a net employment outlook of 13%, while employers in the Eastern Cape report the weakest hiring intentions with an outlook of -5%.

"The province of KwaZulu-Natal continues to be a focus for investment and projects that are expected to boost the economy and create employment," said Van den Barselaar.

Opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the agriculture, hunting, forestry & fishing sector, with an outlook of 18%, and weakest in the construction sector, with an outlook of -7%.

However, the agribusiness confidence index, which gauges sentiment in the agricultural sector, declined to the lowest level in more than two years on Monday.

The employment sub-index, in particular, fell to the lowest level in almost two years, dropping three points to 53.