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ECONOMY, HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Job vacancies decline after seven straight quarters of growth in Q1

The ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped to 1.08 in March.

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted number of job vacancies fell from 62,300 in December 2018 to 57,100 in March 2019 in the first decline after seven consecutive quarters of growth, data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed.

That said, the number of vacancies remained higher than a year ago at 53,900 and vacancies still outnumbered than job seekers, although the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped from 1.10 in December 2018 to 1.08 in March 2019, MOM highlighted.

Singapore’s labour market remained tight in Q1 2019 with total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers (FDW), growing by 10,700. The increase was supported by services sectors such as community, social & personal services, professional services, administrative & support services, financial services, transportation & storage, and information & communications.

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This was higher than the 400 growth recorded in Q1 2018, but lower than that in Q4 2018 ot 14,700 due to seasonal factors, the agency noted.

After inching up in Q4 2018, the seasonally adjusted overall and resident unemployment rates held steady in March 2019 at 2.2% and 3%, respectively, as compared to December 2018.

However, the citizen unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.1% in December 2018 to 3.2% in March 2019, whilst the seasonally adjusted resident long-term unemployment rate (LTUR) edged down from 0.8% in December 2018 to 0.7% in March 2019.

“The LTUR fell or held steady for all age groups, except for residents aged below 30,” MOM said. “Amongst job leavers aged below 30, there was an increase in the proportion who left due to dissatisfaction with their previous jobs. Such workers were more likely to invest more time to search for a better job match.”

More workers were retrenched in Q1 2019 at 3,2302 compared to the previous quarter’s 2,510 and Q1 2018’s 2,320. The top reason cited for retrenchments was business restructuring and reorganisation. At the same time, the six-month re-entry rate amongst retrenched residents rose for the second consecutive quarter, from 64% in Q4 2018 to 66% in Q1 2019.

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Given increasing economic headwinds, MOM and Workforce Singapore (WSG) noted that they will remain vigilant and work closely with tripartite partners to help Singaporeans secure good jobs through the Adapt & Grow Initiative.

“Workers are encouraged to upskill and reskill by tapping on the SkillsFuture initiative, so as to build career resilience and improve career mobility as the economy and firms continue to restructure,” MOM added. MOM and WSG will also offer support to businesses to hire Singaporeans through the Adapt & Grow Initiative, and to transform and improve job quality through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme and Capability Transfer Programme. 

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