Singapore — The country’s unemployment rate rose to 3.6 per cent in September but at a slower pace compared to previous months, as it picked back up after the Covid-19-induced slump.
According to a release from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) with third quarter estimates, the overall unemployment rate crept up by 0.2 percentage points from 3.4 per cent in August, which had already surpassed the high recorded during the peak of the global financial crisis.
The rate among Singaporeans and permanent residents went up from 4.6 per cent in August to 4.7 per cent, while the citizen unemployment rate increased from 4.7 per cent in August to 4.9 per cent.
This brings the total number of unemployed residents to 112,500, of which 97,700 are Singaporeans.
A total of 9,100 workers are likely to be retrenched in the third quarter. The latest estimate brings the expected number of layoffs this year to 20,450, of which 57 per cent are residents.
Employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, shrank by 26,900, largely due to the number of job cuts among non-residents in the construction and manufacturing sector.
However, employment picked up in the services sector, mainly among community, social and personal services such as healthcare and public administration, and food and beverage players.
Resident employment also rebounded in the third quarter to near pre-Covid-19 levels, from 2.29 million in June to 2.34 million in September. It was 2.36 million at the end of last year.
In a press conference on Friday (Oct 30), Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that it is “very encouraging” local employment managed to grow.
“(The) the collective efforts of employers and employees, resumption of activities, plus job-matching — I think all these contributed to employment expanding among locals,” she said.
And though the jobless rate went up, she added that the fact that employment also grew offers “some hope”.
“It means that people are joining the search, but also people are getting the work,” she said.
However, Mrs Teo cautioned against assuming that the local employment rebound would be sustained going forward.
According to channelnewsasia.com on Friday (Oct 30), the ministry also said that although there were job gains among residents as businesses resumed, the labour market will remain soft.
“Weakness in the labour market is likely to persist as companies and workers continue to operate in an uncertain economic environment. Conditions for travel-related sectors continue to remain challenging,” it said.
“There remains significant uncertainty over the length and severity of the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as the global economy’s trajectory of recovery,” it added. /TISG