ECONOMY, HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Retrenchments fall in Q3 as employment growth doubles

However, unemployment rates inched up slightly from 2% to 2.1%.

Singapore’s labour market showed signs of improvement in Q3 as total employment growth more than doubled and retrenchments lowered compared to the previous quarter, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed.

Total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, grew to 15,200 which is more than double the 6,500 observed employment from the previous quarter.

“Increases were observed in manufacturing after fifteen consecutive quarters of decline,” MOM said. “There were also gains in services, such as professional services, information & communications, community, social & personal services and financial & insurance.”

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However, employment in construction continued to decline in Q3, albeit at a slower pace, due to weaknesses in public sector construction activities, the announcement noted. Construction GDP fell 3.1% YoY in Q3, extending the 4.2% decline reported in Q2.

Retrenchments slid to 2,500 compared to 3,030 in the previous quarter and 3,400 in Q3 2017, the statement highlighted. With restructuring, retrenchments are expected to fluctuate every quarter MOM said.

Meanwhile, overall unemployment rates rose to 2.1% in Q3 from 2% in the previous quarter as rates amongst residents and citizens remained unchanged at 2.9% and 3% respectively. MOM highlights how these remained at or below those recorded in Q3 2017.

“Given the growth in employment, the slightly elevated unemployment rates reflected the continued inflow of job seekers into the labour market,” MOM said.

The announcement revealed how job opportunities continue to arise in various sectors such as infocommunications & media, healthcare, professional services and wholesale trade. However, it noted how employers may face greater challenges filling vacancies as the labour market tightens.

“Business, too, are encouraged to transform and improve job quality, with support available through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme and the Capability Transfer Programme,” MOM added. “MOM and Workforce Singapore will continue to work closely with tripartite partners to support and match Singaporeans to good jobs and careers via the Adapt and Grow Initiative.”

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