The number of employed South Africans fell by 69,000 in the second quarter of 2018, driven largely by a fall in those employed in community services, Statistics SA said on Wednesday.

Employment in the mining sector fell 4% in the second quarter compared to same quarter in 2018, or by 19,000, with employment in manufacturing falling 1.1% over the same period, Statistics SA said in its quarterly employment survey.

The number of employed, according to the survey — which covered all industries other than agriculture — fell to 9.74-million in the quarter to end-June.

On an annual basis, employment in the construction sector fell by 14,000, or 2.3%, while employment in the retail sector saw the largest increase — 1.1% or 24,000. On a quarter-by-quarter basis, those employed in the retail sector increased by 7,000, largely due to employment in retail, hotels and restaurants, Statistics SA said.

On a year-on-year basis, gross earnings by employees increased 4.5%, although on a quarterly basis this fell 0.8%, largely due to decreases in business services, mining and quarrying industries.

Average monthly earnings rose 3.7% year on year to end-May, and 1.6% quarter on quarter using the same month as a comparison. The average employee in the nonagricultural sector was paid R20,176 in May 2018.