- POSTED: 13 Dec 2013 10:44
- UPDATED: 14 Dec 2013 03:03
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The unemployment rate in Singapore has fallen to 1.8 per cent in the third quarter of the year, 0.3 percentage points lower than that of the previous three months. This is the lowest so far in 2013 -- the last time the country's unemployment rate hit 1.8 per cent was in December last year.
SINGAPORE: The unemployment rate in Singapore has fallen to 1.8 per cent in the third quarter of the year, 0.3 percentage points lower than that of the previous three months.
This is the lowest so far in 2013 -- the last time the country's unemployment rate hit 1.8 per cent was in December last year.
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said the latest employment figures released by the Ministry of Manpower are encouraging, but economic restructuring towards more productivity-led growth has to continue.
For Singapore residents, the unemployment rate fell from 2.9 per cent to 2.6 per cent over the three months. And for Singaporeans specifically, the figure is at 2.8 per cent, down from 3.1 per cent.
Michael Smith, country director of Randstad, said: “We're still waiting on policies like the Fair Consideration Framework to take place, and it's only been more recently that we have seen a tightening of foreign worker quotas come in.
“There's always going to be a lag effect for those. Ultimately, it's going to take time for that to take effect, and I think we're still seeing that gather momentum.”
However, long-term unemployment has risen slightly to 0.6 per cent, up from 0.4 per cent a year ago.
Analysts said this shows that employers can do more to attract older workers and women back to the workforce.
Mr Smith said: "It'll be about making sure that you have HR policies that support and promote people for working from home, it's about making sure you're opening your doors to mature-age workers and providing them with new training to facilitate their entry back into the workforce, and it's about making sure that you're able to have services that are catered for return-to-work mothers.
“So they may be working one to two days a week and then working from home, as opposed to having a structured five days a week in the office."
There have also been more job openings this September, compared to a year ago.
Total employment rose by 33,100 in the third quarter, compared to 26,200 in the same period last year.
Analysts said this is not just a result of Singapore's strong economy, but also a positive effect from the recovering markets in the US and UK.
Acting Manpower Minister Tan said the report shows Singapore is in a good position and that the economy is doing well.
But he also pointed out that there is still a degree of structural unemployment -- a side effect of economic restructuring.
Mr Tan said: “A fair number of jobs have actually been created across a lot of the different sectors. What it (the report) does show also, is that some of the jobs created are not necessarily at the upper end.
“You are also seeing a change in the profile of our workforce, you are beginning to see more PMEs, and that trend will continue. And that's an important trend to watch out for because, like some of the other countries, where they have a very high proportion of PMEs, you also do have a challenge in terms of creating PME jobs as well.”
Mr Tan said that “on balance, while there are some trends in some age groups or profile groups” where “the employability or the finding of jobs has increased a little,” “the numbers are still very low.”
He said: “And that's something that we want to continue to track. Which is why I think when we make adjustments to the foreign workforce policies, I think it's also keeping in mind what's happening with the local workforce.
“The focus really, in terms of all that we do, is to make sure that…Singaporeans are able to have jobs, good opportunities for them to make the choices and to fulfil their aspirations. So the key thing is how do we try to encourage that, how do we facilitate that process.”
For the last quarter of the year, analysts are not expecting employment figures to change much compared to the third quarter, largely because most companies offer a bonus payout in December and fewer people are expected to switch jobs during that period.