First Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey report released

The first of five reports from the National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) was released a on 15 July 2020. Results indicate that employment has declined substantially and that the effects of this are largest for the most disadvantaged. Findings indicated that inequalities along traditional lines of race, gender, occupation, earnings, location and education, have all grown significantly.

NIDS-CRAM is broadly nationally-representative panel survey of 7,000 South African individuals conducted every month. The same person is phoned each month and is asked a range of questions on their income and employment, their household welfare, receipt of grants, and about their knowledge and behaviour related to COVID-19.

There are five waves of the study planned, one per month from May to October 2020, and each participant receives a R20 airtime voucher per wave for participating. The aim is to provide monthly broadly nationally-representative data on key outcomes such as unemployment, household income, child hunger and access to government grants.

The aim of the synthesis report is to present an overview of the high-level findings from the NIDS- CRAM Working Paper Series which is made up of 11 papers. All of these papers use the NIDS- CRAM Wave 1 data as their primary source and report on various aspects related to employment, poverty, hunger, grants, migration and adherence to COVID-19 prevention strategies. All papers have undergone peer-review.

ACC’s Caroline Skinner is one of the researcher working on the employment theme and co-authored the working paper entitled The Covid-19 crisis and the South African informal economy with Michael Rogan.

“In comparison to formal workers, those in the informal economy have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. A larger share of the informal economy (relative to formal employment) were locked out of employment during the month of April. Moreover, for the typical informal worker that was employed in both February and April the hours worked per week decreased by as much as 50%. Decreases in typical working hours were particularly large for women and workers in self-employment and for informal casual workers”

Rogan & Skinner 2020