Singapore: Retrenchments at 5-year low, job vacancies on the rise: MOM

  • The labour market continued to show slight improvements in the first quarter of 2018, with retrenchment figures falling to a five-year low and the number of job openings on the rise.
  • Statistics released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on 13 Jun 18 showed that 2,320 workers were laid off in 1Q18, a drop from 4,000 from 1Q17. This is higher than the MOM’s initial estimates of 2,100. But it remained difficult for some groups of people to get back into a job.
  • The long-term unemployment rate was 0.7% as of Mar 18, down from 0.8% in Mar 17. This measures the share of the resident labour force who have been unemployed for at least 25 weeks. Overall, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in 1Q18 improved to 2%, down from 2.2% in 1Q17.
  • For the first time since Mar 16, there were more job openings than unemployed people. The seasonally adjusted ratio of vacancies to unemployed people improved to 1.04, up from 0.81 in Mar 17.
  • The number of job vacancies went up to 53,900 in Mar 18 up from 46,800 in Mar 17.
  • Total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, grew slightly by 400 in 1Q18 from 4Q17. MOM said this was led by sectors such as community, social and personal services, finance and insurance, information and communications, as well as transportation and storage.
  • This helped to offset the decline in employment in manufacturing and construction, which saw employment shrink by 3,800 and 5,600 respectively in 1Q18.
  • Overall labour demand is expected to expand in 2018, but this will be uneven across sectors, said MOM.
  • Job opportunities are available in service sectors such as healthcare, logistics and wholesale trade, the ministry said, while the construction and marine shipyard sectors are expected to remain cautious in hiring.

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