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Singapore's unemployment rate rises in July, ending 8-month improvement

Singapore's unemployment rate rises in July, ending 8-month improvement

Office workers wearing protective face masks cross a street in the central business district in Singapore on Jan 11, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's unemployment rate rose in July, ending eight consecutive months of improvement, according to figures released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Monday (Sep 6).

The rise in unemployment could be due to a "temporary easing of manpower demand" in certain sectors during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from May 16 to Jun 13, said the ministry.

July's overall unemployment rate rose to 2.8 per cent, up 0.1 percentage points from the previous month.

The resident unemployment rate increased to 3.7 per cent from 3.5 per cent, while the citizen unemployment rate went up to 3.9 per cent from 3.7 per cent.

This translated to 87,300 residents unemployed in July, including 77,200 citizens, according to MOM.

"Nonetheless, the rates in July remained lower than in May," said the ministry.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said the rise in unemployment came amid tighter COVID-19 restrictions during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), and likely reflected a dip in demand for manpower in affected sectors such as food & beverage and retail trade.

"As Singapore moves towards becoming a COVID-resilient nation, measures will be relaxed further as more sectors of our economy reopen. This will help boost manpower demand and allow our labour market to continue recovering," he said in a Facebook post.

"At the same time, I encourage companies to constantly pursue innovation and review their business operations to meet the changing needs of the economy."

More details will be released in MOM's second quarter labour market report on Sep 15.

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

Source: CNA/dv(rw)

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