Joblessness eases for the second straight month in September

The unemployment rate continues to be above pre-pandemic levels.

The overall unemployment rate for September 2021 was at 2.7%, the latest data from the Ministry of Manpower showed.

This is a 0.1% decrease from August’s 2.8% rate, and a 0.8% decline from the peak of 3.5% recorded in September last year.

For September 2021, both resident and citizen unemployment declined by 0.1% from the month previous to 3.5% and 3.7% respectively.

Whilst total employment (excluding migrant domestic workers) continued to be at a decline, with 3,400 losing their jobs in the third quarter, this is much lower compared to the 16,300 decline recorded the previous quarter.

The ministry attributed this to a rise in resident employment. However, non-resident employment continued to decline in a pace similar to the second quarter.

“Outward-oriented sectors such as Professional Services, Information & Communications, and Financial Services continued to see resident employment expansion. On the other hand, Food & Beverages Services, Retail Trade, and Accommodation trimmed their resident workforce,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that this reflected the ongoing border restrictions and safe management measures imposed in the third quarter.

It estimates that retrenchments will be at around 2,000 in the third quarter, much lower than the record high of 9,120 recorded in the same quarter last year, and slightly lower than the 2,340 recorded in the second quarter.

“Consequently, we expect the incidence of retrenchment in 3Q 2021 (1.1 retrenched per 1,000 employees) to fall from the 1.3 registered in 2Q 2021,” the ministry added.

The Ministry of Manpower will release the official Labour Market Report 3Q 2021 in mid-December.

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