The city's contribution towards Gauteng exports has also increased marginally over the same period. While its contribution towards exports has remained relatively static over the past nine years, Johannesburg's share of both provincial and national imports has declined notably, dropping from almost 60 percent of Gauteng imports in 1997 to less than 52 percent in 2004 and from 36 percent of national imports in 1998 to less than 30 percent in 2004.
Johannesburg has experienced a trade surplus on only two occasions in the past nine years, in 2001 and 2003. It is more prone to experience trade deficits because of its less diversified export product base and a relatively high and stable import propensity.
By contrast, import volumes at a national and provincial level have been increasing at a faster rate, and by more than the corresponding growth in exports. This may suggest that Johannesburg is becoming more integrated into global markets and that the city's structural trade deficit is gradually being dismantled.
The wholesale and retail trade and the transport and storage sectors dominate service exports in value terms - each contributes almost 30 percent of total value in 2003. At least 11 large South African wholesale and retail groups have expanded into the rest of Africa. There is a rising trend across all sectors, with particularly strong growth in business services, communications, medical, dental and other. The latter were some four times higher in 2003 than in 1996.
A strong relationship between levels of education and labour market status, that is, employed versus unemployed and formal market versus informal employment, and earnings is to be expected. This assumes that people are acquiring skills that are worth something in the labour market.
If this assumption is correct then higher levels of education should contribute to higher levels of employment and higher personal incomes. However, many surveys indicate that businesses in Johannesburg find it difficult to employ suitably skilled people. It seems reasonable to assume that there is an unfilled demand for skilled labour, which could result in higher employment if the skills levels of the city's available workforce were to improve.
Since 1996 there has been an improvement in education levels in Johannesburg in absolute terms and in comparison with Gauteng and South Africa