SINGAPORE: The resident unemployment rate in Singapore declined in the second quarter from the previous three months, although it was higher than a year ago, according to latest figures released by the Ministry of Manpower on Thursday (Sep 14).
Among Singaporeans, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.5 per cent in March to 3.3 per cent in June. For residents, the unemployment rate fell from 3.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent, the ministry’s quarterly Labour Market report said.
About 70,800 citizens and residents were unemployed as of June, down from 74,400 in March.
Overall, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.2 per cent.
For the first time in three years, local employment grew in the first half of the year. The growth was mainly in the community, social and personal services, finance and insurance services, and information and communication sectors, the ministry said.
Foreign employment, excluding domestic workers, contracted by 21,400 in the first half of the year. The decline was mainly due to a decrease in work permit holders in sectors such as construction and marine and offshore engineering.
The number of Employment Pass holders – professionals and executives who earn at least S$3,600 – declined for the first time in four years, while the number of S Pass holders – mid-skilled technical staff who earn at least S$2,200 a month – remained flat.
FEWER RETRENCHMENTS, MORE JOB VACANCIES
A total of 3,640 workers were retrenched in the second quarter, down from the 4,000 retrenched in the first quarter and the 4,800 retrenched a year ago. The majority – 75 per cent – of those retrenched in the last quarter were professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).
In the first half of the year, 7,640 workers were laid off, compared to the 9,510 laid off a year ago.
In the second quarter, job vacancies rose in the public sector and among private firms with at least 25 employees. With a higher number of vacancies and fewer job seekers, the job vacancies to unemployed ratio improved for the second straight quarter to 85 job vacancies for every 100 employed in June, compared to 81 in March and 77 in December last year.
With the Singapore economy expected to grow 2.5 per cent this year, labour demand is likely to pick up in the second half, in line with seasonal hiring, the Manpower Ministry said.
“Hiring is expected to remain cautious in sectors such as construction and marine and offshore engineering, while job opportunities will continue to be available in other sectors, particularly infocomms and media, finance and insurance, healthcare, professional services and wholesale trade,” it said.
Labour supply is expected to remain tight in the medium term, the ministry added. “Local workforce growth will remain modest due to underlying demographics trends, while foreign workforce growth will continue to be moderated.
“Over the next three to five years, as the economy restructures to be more manpower-lean, productive and innovative, the average annual total workforce growth (excluding foreign domestic workers) is expected to be in the range of 25,000 to 40,000,” it said.