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Singapore's overall unemployment rate falls for fourth straight month in February

Singapore's overall unemployment rate falls for fourth straight month in February

People are seen at Raffles Place in Singapore on Jan 11, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's overall unemployment rate dipped to 3 per cent in February from 3.2 per cent in January, according to the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) monthly unemployment situation report released on Wednesday (Apr 7).

This marks the fourth consecutive month of decline in the overall unemployment rate in Singapore.

The resident - Singaporeans and permanent residents - unemployment rate in February fell from 4.3 per cent to 4.1 per cent. For citizens, the unemployment rate in February fell from 4.5 per cent to 4.3 per cent. 

According to the MOM report, 96,800 residents were unemployed in February, including 85,900 citizens. 

"Although the unemployment rates remain elevated and have not yet returned to pre-COVID levels, we are seeing good progress with jobs growth," said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo in a Facebook post on Wednesday. 

READ: 130,000 locals hired by 27,000 firms under Jobs Growth Incentive in 3 months: MOM

She added that the ministry recently made Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) payouts to 27,000 employers who collectively hired 130,000 locals in the first three months the scheme was implemented. 

The JGI is a wage subsidy scheme that encourages companies to hire more Singaporeans and permanent residents. It was first announced in August last year and meant to last for five months, before being given an additional S$5.2 billion boost in Budget 2021 and extended until September.

"It is encouraging to see that Government support for employers to expand local hiring has nudged them to consider a more diverse group of job seekers. This includes those from different sectors, those who were previously not employed, and those aged 40 and above," Mrs Teo said.

She also warned that with every dip in the unemployment rate, the next drop will "likely be harder to achieve".

READ: Singapore's sharpest fall in employment in more than 20 years borne by non-resident workers: MOM

Singapore's total employment saw its sharpest fall in more than 20 years in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy and a "circuit breaker" forced many businesses to suspend operations in April and May.

Resident unemployment rate hit 4.8 per cent in September last year and the overall unemployment rate that month was 3.5 per cent. 

MOM has been releasing monthly unemployment figures since July 2020. Previously, the rates were published quarterly. 

Source: CNA/hm

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