The Ministry of Manpower warned this morning that retrenchment may rise as unemployment numbers creep upwards. Releasing the Labour Market Report for the second quarter (2Q) of 2018, MOM revealed that that unemployment rates have climbed and that retrenchments in 2Q 2018 were higher than the first quarter (1Q) of this year.
MOM added that unemployment rates have dipped in spite of the fact that total employment (excluding foreign domestic workers) grew by 7,100 as service industries continued to employ more workers in the Transportation & Storage, Information & Communications, Community, Social & Personal Services, Professional Services and Financial & Insurance sectors.
The Ministry further indicated that the total employment for 2Q 2018 is especially encouraging, since total employment dropped by 7,900 in the same quarter last year.
Despite this, seasonally adjusted unemployment rates grew from 2 per cent in 1Q 2018 to 2.1 per cent in 2Q 2018 at the overall level while the unemployment rates for residents grew from 2.8 per cent to 3 per cent. The unemployment rates for Singapore citizens grew from 3 per cent to 3.1 per cent.
While the unemployment rates in 2Q 2018 are reportedly lower than 2Q 2017, it comes after unemployment rates remained depressed after the June 2017 unemployment rate high.
Meanwhile, there were 2,500 retrenchments in 2Q 2018 as compared to the 2,320 retrenchments in the last quarter. The Ministry cited “on-going restructuring and reorganisation” in explaining the climb in retrenchment.
While MOM assured that retrenchments in 2Q 2018 were still lower than 2Q 2017, it noted that the latest spike in retrenchments come after a “downtrend since the fourth quarter of 2016.”
The MOM concluded its report by warning that retrenchments may rise in the coming months. It added:
“It will be increasingly important for workers and businesses to stay agile and responsive to emerging technological trends, economic restructuring and the evolving workforce landscape. MOM and Workforce Singapore remain focussed on helping jobseekers secure better employment outcomes through the Adapt and Grow initiative, and businesses to transform and grow through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme and the Capability Transfer Programme.”