Singapore: Job market still weak despite stronger economic growth – 11 Aug 2017

  • Singapore has been reporting more cheerful economic growth numbers in 2017 but this pick-up is not translating into a stronger labour market.
  • Total employment fell for the second quarter in a row in 2Q17, with 8,400 fewer workers – not including foreign domestic workers – in jobs, according to Manpower Ministry (MOM) data in Jul 17.
  • The overall unemployment rate remained at 2.2%, unchanged from 1Q17. But the rates were still elevated, the ministry said, being 0.1-0.2% higher y/y.
  • The manufacturing sector saw employment fall for the 11th consecutive quarter, by 2,500. In construction, employment fell for the fourth straight quarter by 9,500, while the service sector added 3,400 workers, excluding maids.
  • Growth in manufacturing has been driven largely by electronics and precision engineering, but the marine and offshore segment remains weak due to low oil prices and has been the main reason behind job losses in the sector, said Mr Terence Ho, the divisional director for manpower planning and policy at MOM.
  • MTI economics division director Yong Yik Wei added that the construction sector – which has been shrinking on the back of weak private sector building – has also contributed to employment declines

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