the national economy
employment by industry
employment by occupation
Gauteng employment & unemployment
national unemployment
the skills challenge
improving education
decent work
decent work who?
decent work where?
the spatial economy
economic sectors

The Gauteng economy was pioneered by the mining sector with the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand Reef in 1886. Over the last century the Gauteng economy has grown rapidly on the back of this discovery, but has gradually changed from being dominated by the primary sector, particularly mining activity, to being driven by the more knowledge-intensive secondary and tertiary sectors.

It is interesting to note that the Gauteng economy is similar to that of the country as a whole in that both are dominated by the tertiary sector, which continues to grow in relative size. However, the graphs below clearly show the relatively small, and declining, proportion of primary industry production in the Gauteng economy, whereas across the country it still counts for some 13% of output. 

Despite its relatively small size the primary sector remains significant in Gauteng, as it has strong downstream sectoral links. For example, agro-processing is a primary sector activity, but is classified under manufacturing. Similarly, gold mining and its associated industrial activity have propelled the growth of the region’s financial sector.

The shares of the Gauteng economy going to manufacturing fell from 21% in 2001 to 18% in 2008. This was compensated for by growth in the share of construction, from just over 2% to 4% of the provincial economy. In the tertiary sector, Gauteng’s finances and business service sector increased from 19% in 2001 to just under 24% in 2007. It then fell back to 23% in 2008 as first high interest rates, and then a global financial crisis began to impact the Gauteng economy.


broad sectoral composition

StatsSA (24 November 2009)' 3rd Quarter GDP 2009 and GDP-Regional (GDPR) for 2008': excel file, accessed at