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Unemployment in Singapore rises, more workers made redundant in Q2

For the first time since June 2012, jobseekers outnumbered job openings, according to figures released in the Ministry of Manpower’s half-yearly Labour Market report.

SINGAPORE: Amid weaker economic conditions, Singapore’s unemployment rate rose in the second quarter, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The overall unemployment rate rose from 1.9 per cent in March to 2.1 per cent in June, figures released in the ministry’s half-quarterly Labour Market report showed. Among citizens, unemployment rose from 2.6 per cent to 3.1 per cent and rose from 2.7 per cent to 3 per cent among residents.

Unemployment rose further among residents aged 30 and above, and in particular, for those aged 50 and above, which saw unemployment rise for the fifth consecutive quarter. Those with higher qualifications were not spared, with unemployment rates among degree holders rising to their highest level since 2009.

Total employment grew by 4,200, down from 13,000 in the previous quarter and 9,700 in the same quarter a year ago.

MORE JOBSEEKERS THAN OPENINGS

For the first time since June 2012, there were more jobseekers than job openings during the second quarter, according to the report.

The number of seasonally adjusted vacancies fell from 50,000 in March to 49,400 in June, continuing a downward trend since March 2015. Coupled with the increase in unemployed people, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed people fell to 93 openings per 100 seekers, compared to 103 in March.

MORE WORKERS LAID OFF

A total of 4,800 workers were made redundant during the second quarter, up from 4,710 the previous quarter and 3,250 in the same period a year ago. This was the highest second-quarter redundancy since 2009, which saw 5,980 jobs shed, according to MOM.

Altogether, 9,510 workers were laid off in the first half of the year, also the highest since 2009.

Based on Central Provident Fund (CPF) records, 45 per cent of residents laid off during the first quarter re-entered employment by June, the lowest rate since June 2009, the ministry said.

Responding to the Manpower Ministry’s half-quarterly Labour Market report, NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Cham Hui Fong, said: “While we continue to see slower growth in employment and anticipate that more workers may be made redundant in the coming months, we noted that total employment continued to grow with improvement in productivity. Hence, to ensure sustainable employment growth, we need to push for higher productivity via jobs redesign or re-skilling.”

Ms Cham added that according to the latest JobsBank statistics, there are more than 60,000 job vacancies across different sectors. “NTUC will work with the tripartite partners to encourage working people to attend relevant training programmes so that they are equipped with the right skills to take on the available jobs as the economy restructures,” she added.