, Singapore

Unemployment rate widened to 2.3% in 2019

The ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons declined to 0.84 in December 2019.

Singapore’s unemployment rate edged up to 2.3%, whilst the resident long-term unemployment rate held steady at 0.7%, according to the Ministry of Manpower.

This is despite the growth seen in local employment, ending at 28,300 in 2019 compared to 27,400 in 2018. The majority of the increase was in the services industries, including community, social & personal services, professional services, financial & insurance services and information & communications.

On the other hand, employment in manufacturing and wholesale & retail trade contracted due to a fall in output.

Foreign employment (excluding FDW) inched up to 28,700, thanks to Work Permit & Other Work Passes (WP+) holders in the construction industry (12,700). By pass type, foreign employment growth was led by WP+ (16,300 excluding FDW), and Employment Pass (EP) holders (7,900).

Retrenchments in 2019 was at 10,690, slightly lower from 10,730 in 2018. Locals made up 64% of retrenchments in 2019, whilst the re-entry rate into employment amongst retrenched locals improved slightly from 63% in 2018 to 64% in 2019.

Further, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons declined from 1.09 in December 2018 to 0.84 in December 2019.

Singapore citizens continued to earn higher real incomes at the median (3.9% per annum) and 20th percentile (4.6% p.a.) in the recent five years (from 2014 to 2019), compared to the previous five year.

Overall labour productivity fell in 2019 as real value-added per actual hour worked dipped 1.5% YoY. The improvement in productivity in the construction sector was offset by productivity declines in the manufacturing and services sectors. 

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