ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Is a recession on the heels of Singapore’s sluggish employment growth?

The unemployment rate is a primary indicator.

Singapore’s sluggish employment growth isn’t pointing towards a recession, said recruitment firm Randstad.

One primary indicator is that unemployment has stayed low and stable. Further, median income climbed steeply for Singaporeans in 2015, by 7% in real terms. This demonstrates employer confidence in the market as well as a burgeoning understanding over the importance of higher salaries as part of talent retention.

Total employment growth, though it is at its lowest since 2003, is no longer fluctuating wildly. Q4 numbers being higher than those in Q3 indicate that growth will stabilise and move at a moderate pace in 2016, barring unexpected crises or issues.

Local employment is unlikely to stay flat for an extended period of time as local workers upskill to fill the current skills gap, and fresh graduates with highly demanded specialist skills enters the workforce.

Moreover, foreign worker employment will continue to pick up, though only in specific industries and functions where skill gaps remain.

Randstad further notes that firms may be forced to downsize to look at restructuring and realigning their businesses to meet current and future challenges. Revamped businesses will be a source for new jobs, while layoff numbers will taper in the next few years.

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