Employment rate grows “more than expected” breaking 4-month decline
The jobless rate during the quarter also eased, but remained elevated.
Total employment grew 12,200 in the first quarter of the year, the first time after four consecutive quarters of decline, the Ministry of Manpower reported.
Resident employment increased during the quarter, whilst non-resident employment declined, partially due to the restrictions on the entry of foreign workers amidst the pandemic.
“Given ongoing border restrictions to reduce COVID-19 importation risks, we expect foreign employment growth to continue to face downward pressure,” the ministry said, noting this could lead in shortages in the construction sector.
The unemployment rate also inched down to 2.9% between February to March from 3%, but remained elevated compared to its pre-pandemic level.
The number of retrenchments during the quarter declined by 2,270 for the second consecutive quarter. The six-month re-entry rate among retrenched residents rose for two consecutive quarters to 66% in 1Q 2021.
The ministry added there were 68,400 job vacancies in March 2021, exceeding the last high of 65,500 which was recorded in March 2015. These vacancies were reported across all sectors such as manufacturing, public administration and education, construction, information & communications and financial services.