HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

6500 workers hired in H1 but long term unemployment rises: MOM

The construction and manufacturing sectors contracted its employment growth.

Local employment growth in H1 was up 1.5 times compared to the pace in H1 2017, the Ministry of Manpower revealed. The recorded growth was backed mainly by sectors including community, social & personal services, financial & insurance services, information & communications, and transportation & storage.

In H1, a total of 6,500 employees were added to the local employment which is higher from the 4,000 added in H1 2017.

Meanwhile, foreign employment excluding foreign domestic workers (FDW) inched up by 400 in H1 2018, compared with the decline in H1 2017 of about 21,400.

According to MoM, this was due to the moderated decline in the construction sector in H1 (-5,400) compared to the 20,400 decline a year ago, paired with stronger growth in the services sector which grew its employment by 8,200 from just adding 5,200 in H1 2017.

Moreover, employment of Employment Pass (EP) holders fell by 3,400 as a result of the raising of the EP qualifying salary back in January 2017.

According to MoM, the seasonally-adjusted resident unemployment rate inched up by 1 ppt to 2.9% in Q2 after a general downtrend since June 2017.

“This occurred as more persons entered the labour force to look for work,” the agency explained.

The long-term unemployment rate also grew by 1 ppt to 0.8% in Q2. Meanwhile, retrenchments declined to 5,350 in H1 which is lower than the 7,640 cases in H1 2017 (7,640).

MoM said that restructuring and reorganisation remained the top reasons for retrenchment across industries.

Job vacancies rose to a three-year high of 56,700 in June compared to the 53,900 in March.

By sector, employment in manufacturing slipped by 3,900 in H1 2018, which is still lower compared to H1 2017 (-6,400) and H2 2017 (-4,500).

“The decline was due to a decrease in work permit holders in the marine shipyard sector, which continued to be weighed down by subdued demand for new-build oil rigs,” MoM explained.

The negative employment growth in manufacturing is likely to amidst the weak demand conditions faced by local yards and firms producing oilfield and gasfield equipment, MoM added.

Despite this, the sector observed its productivity inching up by 12.7% YoY in H1.

The construction sector’s employment contracted by 6,400 in H1 which is an improvement compared to the 15,300 decline in H2 2017.

“The decline came amidst continued weakness in construction activity with the decrease mainly from work permit holders,” MoM explained. They added that employment in the sector is likely to continue its decline amidst weakness in contracts won.

Despite this, productivity increased by 1.2% on a YoY basis in H1 2018.

On the other hand, the services sector saw employment growth rising by 17,100. MoM noted that employment declined in sectors such as accommodation & food services, and wholesale & retail Trade amidst an uneven performance in the various sub-segments of the sectors.

These declines were more than offset by employment gains in the community, social and personal services, information & communications, financial & insurance services, administrative & support services, and transportation & storage sectors, the agency noted.

The sector’s productivity inched up 1.4%.

“In the medium term, labour supply will remain tight,” MoM noted. “Local workforce growth will remain modest due to underlying demographic trends, while foreign workforce growth will continue to be moderated.”

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