The Ministry of Manpower has reported signs of improvement in the county’s labor market with lower retrenchment rates and employment growth that is more than double of the second quarter of 2018.
Unemployment rates, however, also went slightly higher, from 2 percent in 2Q to 2.1 percent in 3Q.
The total employment for the third quarter reached 15,200, with the exception of foreign domestic workers. In the second quarter of the year, total employment was only at 6,500.
According to the Ministry of Manpower, “Increases were observed in manufacturing after fifteen consecutive quarters of decline. There were also gains in services, such as professional services, information & communications, community, social & personal services, and financial & insurance.”
But the ministry noted that the number of jobs in the employment sector has consistently gone down because of weaknesses in public sector construction activities, although its pace has gotten slower. In Q2 construction GDP’s decline was at 4.2 percent, while in Q3 it stood at 3.1 percent.
In the third quarter, retrenchments stood at 2,500, down from 3,030 in Q2. In Q3 2017, retrenchments were at 3,400. The Ministry of Manpower has said that it expects retrenchments to fluctuate with every quarter because of restructuring.
Overall, rates of unemployment rose this quarter. Rates among residents remained at 2.9 percent, and among citizens, it stayed at 3 percent. These figures are equal to or even below the rates in 2017.
“Given the growth in employment, the slightly elevated unemployment rates reflected the continued inflow of job seekers into the labour market.”
Opportunities for employment continue to spring from different sectors such as healthcare, professional services, wholesale trade, and infocommunications and media. But MOM warned that employers could find it harder to fill open positions since the labor market is tightening.
“Business, too, are encouraged to transform and improve job quality, with support available through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme and the Capability Transfer Programme. MOM and Workforce Singapore will continue to work closely with tripartite partners to support and match Singaporeans to good jobs and careers via the Adapt and Grow Initiative.”
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