Defining and measuring informal employment in South Africa
There is limited consensus on how to define informal employment in South Africa, but in the South African and international literature the three most common ways of capturing informal employment are the enterprise, employment relationship and worker characteristics approaches. This paper reviews the methods used by Statistics South Africa to measure informal employment before and after the introduction of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, and other recently proposed methods. It then investigates the congruence, if any, between five measures of informality used in 2009. It finds that 94.7% of the self-employed are informal according to at least one definition, but only 62.6% according to all five combined. In addition, these two proportions are only 67.7% and 6.9% respectively in the case of informal employees. Econometric analysis is conducted to further investigate the differences between these measures. © 2012 Copyright Development Bank of Southern Africa.