SINGAPORE: Singapore's labour market showed further signs of improvement in the third quarter of 2018, with total employment growing at a faster pace and fewer retrenchments, according to Ministry of Manpower (MOM) figures released on Thursday (Dec 13).
In its quarterly labour market report, the ministry reported that while the overall unemployment rate rose slightly to 2.1 per cent in September from 2 per cent in June, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among residents (2.9 per cent) and citizens (3 per cent) held steady from June to September.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among long-term residents declined to 0.6 per cent in September from 0.7 per cent in June, "suggesting that workers are better able to secure employment as economic conditions improved", MOM said.
As of September, there were 66,000 residents and 58,200 citizens unemployed, said MOM.
The number of retrenchments was also smaller at 2,860, compared to the previous quarter's 3,030.
This was also lower compared to a year ago when retrenchment was at 3,400.
Business restructuring and reorganisation remained the top reason for retrenchments, MOM said.
"Among the retrenched residents, majority were professionals, managers,
executives & technicians (PMETs) (70%), and they continued to be overrepresented relative to their overall workforce composition," it added.
Total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, grew by 16,700 in the third quarter, compared with the growth of 6,500 in the previous quarter. This was the highest quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2014, said MOM.
The service sector was the main driver of total employment growth, which was led by higher-skilled sectors such as professional services, information and communications, community, social and personal services, as well as financial and insurance services.
MOM said that going forward, hiring momentum "may moderate" given external trade tensions and slowing growth in Singapore's key final demand markets.