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Eighty per cent of those polled said they expect no change in the employment levels in the last quarter of the year, the independent employment services firm Manpower said in a report.
Seven economic sectors are planning to increase their employment levels, including agriculture, mining, forestry and fisheries, while 10 sectors are mildly optimistic about their employment outlook, such as electricity, transport, gas and water supply, communication, wholesale and retail.
Seven-hundred employers across South Africa were quizzed for the poll.
The construction sector is pessimistic about its employment outlook, anticipating a drop of three per cent during the fourth quarter.
Workers in the mining and auto industry took industrial action last month demanding an increase in wages.
The economy first took a hit when some 30,000 automotive industry workers walked off their jobs in protest against low wages on August 19.