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‘Substantial’ rise in resident employment in Q3, fewer retrenchments as labour market continues to improve: MOM

SINGAPORE: Singapore saw fewer retrenchments in the third quarter as well as a “substantial” rise in resident employment as the labour market continued to improve, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM) in advance estimates released on Friday (Oct 29). 

However, recovery remains uneven across sectors due to extended COVID-19 restrictions, the ministry's Permanent Secretary Aubeck Kam noted. 

Overall, total employment declined by 3,400 in the third quarter, although the drop was “considerably gentler” than in the second quarter, when it fell by 16,300, said MOM. 

"Resident employment grew more quickly, particularly in outward-oriented industries," said MOM. These sectors include professional services, information and communications and financial service. 

On the other hand, sectors such as food and beverage services and retail trade trimmed their resident workforce, a reflection of ongoing COVID-19 border restrictions and safe management measures imposed in the third quarter, said the ministry. 

Non-resident employment continued to contract across most sectors due to ongoing border restrictions.. 

There were also fewer retrenchments - 2,000 - in the third quarter, compared to 2,340 in the second quarter. The number is also a quarter of retrenchments recorded when unemployment peaked a year ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic, MOM said. 

Unemployment rates also fell for the second consecutive month, after a brief spike in July. The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point in all categories, with the overall rate at 2.6 per cent, resident unemployment at 3.5 per cent and citizen unemployment at 3.7 per cent.

The unemployment rate has “continued to ease steadily” since its peak a year ago, but remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic times, MOM said. 

With Singapore in its Stabilisation Phase until end-November, the “mixed employment trends” observed in the third quarter are expected to continue into the next quarter, particularly in those sectors affected by the extension of COVID-19 restrictions, Mr Kam said. 

“As these extended COVID-19 measures include group size curbs on dine-in and other social activities, sectors such as food and beverage services and retail trade will continue to be impacted,” the ministry noted. 

In contrast, the expansion of Singapore’s vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme and travel-related activities may give a boost to industries such as accommodation and air transport services, the ministry added. 


Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said it was "encouraging" to see Singapore's economy and labour market improving from the impact of the pandemic. 

But "we should also expect that industries and job roles will transform ... and be prepared for these changes", he said during a visit to Deloitte Consulting on Friday. 

Mr Tan urged companies to "expand their hiring strategies" and consider mid-career workers looking to switch careers, or workers willing to to "reskill and upskill" to take on new roles. 

"This will allow our businesses and workers to remain competitive in an ever-changing global landscape," he said. 

The third quarter Labour Market Report, to be released in mid-December, will provide more details, such as resident and non-resident employment, sectoral breakdowns, number of job vacancies, labour turnover, and re-entry rates among retrenched residents.

Source: CNA/vc


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