International Asia Best to get ready and be prepared for more job losses: Josephine...

Best to get ready and be prepared for more job losses: Josephine Teo

Situation in the first quarter was already worse than predicted by preliminary findings

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Singapore — The Labour Market Report First Quarter 2020 was released on Monday (June 15) with Manpower Minister Josephine Teo addressing the impact that Covid-19 has had on the first quarter of the year.

The latest numbers show that the situation in the first quarter was already worse than what the preliminary findings predicted in April.

Total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, dropped by 25,600, which is 29% more than the 19,900 indicated in the preliminary report. The report also showed that 3,220 people were retrenched in the first quarter, compared with 2,670 in the last quarter of 2019. 

By March, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons had fallen to 0.7. However, Mrs Teo states that because of the government job and wage support, unemployment and retrenchment rates have “risen a bit but they haven’t really spiked very sharply”. 

There was a five-fold increase in the number of employees that were placed on shorter workweek or temporary layoffs in 1Q 2020 (4,190) compared to 4Q 2019 (840). She says that this is due to employers “helping to preserve jobs”. 

In terms of the vacancies over the quarter, the worst hit was the F&B industry with a decline of -2.2, whereas Electronics Manufacturing saw an increase of 0.7. 

Government Initiatives

In order to combat the incoming job losses, SGUnited was created to “pull together 100,000 job opportunities for job seekers” through: 

  • Scaling up job opportunities in the public sector of up to 15,000 jobs. 
  • Expanding traineeships for fresh graduates of up to 21,000 positions, mid-career workers of up to 4,000 positions and “Attach-and-Train” programmes for more attachments to emerging job roles.
  • Strengthening training support of 6-12 month courses, giving up to 30,000 training opportunities.

Uncertain Second Quarter 

Mrs Teo noted that MOM is still uncertain about how the second quarter will turn out. “It’s best for us to get ready and be prepared for more job losses,” she said. “Although the outlook is very uncertain, we want to brace ourselves for difficult times ahead.” 

The full video can be found here:

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