South Africa - Informal employment (% of total non-agricultural employment)

Informal employment (% of total non-agricultural employment) in South Africa was 35.15 as of 2018. Its highest value over the past 18 years was 53.75 in 2000, while its lowest value was 31.68 in 2012.

Definition: Employment in the informal economy as a percentage of total non-agricultural employment. It basically includes all jobs in unregistered and/or small-scale private unincorporated enterprises that produce goods or services meant for sale or barter. Self-employed street vendors, taxi drivers and home-base workers, regardless of size, are all considered enterprises. However, agricultural and related activities, households producing goods exclusively for their own use (e.g. subsistence farming, domestic housework, care work, and employment of paid domestic workers), and volunteer services rendered to the community are excluded.

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database. Data retrieved in December 2019.

See also:

Year Value
2000 53.75
2001 52.78
2002 47.55
2003 47.53
2004 47.81
2005 50.92
2006 52.16
2007 51.92
2008 35.13
2009 33.44
2010 33.87
2011 32.68
2012 31.68
2013 32.36
2014 32.32
2015 34.62
2016 34.25
2017 34.61
2018 35.15

Limitations and Exceptions: There are limitations for comparing data across countries and over time even within a country, due to differences in definitions and methodology of data collection. For example, informal sector enterprises refer to non-registered enterprises in some countries but registration requirements can vary from country to country. Others apply the employment size criterion only (which may vary from country to country). For detailed information on definitions and coverage, see footnotes.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: There are wide variations in definitions and methodology of data collection. In addition to employment in the informal economy, informal employment within the formal sector should be also taken into account. Casual, short term, and seasonal workers, for example, could be informally employed — lacking social protection, health benefits, legal status, rights and freedom of association. Some countries now provide data according to the guidelines, adopted by the 17th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (2003); Informal employment as the total number of informal jobs, whether carried out in formal sector enterprises, informal sector enterprises, or households, during a given reference period.

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: Harmonized series


Topic: Labor & Social Protection Indicators

Sub-Topic: Economic activity