SINGAPORE — Employment in Singapore continued to grow in the last quarter of last year, marking the fifth straight quarter of increase, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in Labour Market Advance Release 2022 on Tuesday, Jan 31. Moreover, unemployment stayed low through the last month of 2022.
However, the number of retrenchments is also higher than in the third quarter of 2022 but remains “comparable to its pre-pandemic range”, MOM said.
The labour market report will not be released until the middle of March, but MOM released the highlights here.
“For the whole of 2022, the labour market improved significantly compared to 2021. The unemployment situation is at its pre-pandemic steady state, and total and resident employment levels rose,” wrote MOM.
The ministry noted that non-resident employment growth contributed to most of the increase, mostly in the construction sector.
However, resident employment also picked up in the last quarter of 2022, mostly in Food & Beverage Services and Retail Trade amid year-end festivities.
MOM’s highlights also said that the higher retrenchment numbers were primarily because of business reorganisation or restructuring.
“The increase mainly reflected higher retrenchments in Information & Communications, Electronics Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade, while retrenchments in other sectors remained stable,” it added.
In 2022, total employment grew by an unprecedented 231,700 after a substantial decline during the pandemic. The growth was, again, driven by non-residents, especially as travel restrictions were lifted.
Nevertheless, resident employment also grew in 2022, but at a slower pace than the previous year.
Moreover, “the annual average unemployment rates were significantly lower in 2022 compared to 2021 (overall: 2.1% vs. 2.7%; resident: 2.9% vs. 3.5%; citizen: 3.0% vs. 3.7%),” MOM noted.
The ministry added that “hiring sentiments remain positive in the coming months” based on polls conducted in firms.
However, the uncertain global economic environment, increased inflation, and geopolitical tensions could affect the labour market.
“The projected slowdown in economic growth in 2023 would likely have some impact on the momentum of labour market improvements. With the recent uptick in retrenchments, unemployment rates could also trend higher.” /TISG
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