International Business & Economy MOM: Rise in unemployment rate due to 'mismatch in the labour market'

MOM: Rise in unemployment rate due to ‘mismatch in the labour market’

The industries where the retrenchment figures rose were in the manufacturing, construction and services sector

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Singapore—Data from the Labour Market Report released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on October 24, Thursday, shows that Singapore’s overall unemployment rate has risen slightly in this year’s third quarter.

The latest overall unemployment rate is at 2.3 percent, which is seasonally adjusted, shows a slight increase from the second quarter’s 2.2 percent. Among residents, this rise in percentage is reflected as well, going up to 3.2 percent in the third quarter from 3.1 percent in the second quarter.

Unemployment among citizens rose as well, from 3.2 percent in Q2 to 3.3 in Q3.

In comparison to 2018’s figures, the overall unemployment rate for Q3 is up by 0.2 percent.

According to MOM, this may partly be due to a mismatch in the labour market. “The increase in unemployment rates occurred when there were still vacancies available. This suggests some mismatch in the labour market.”

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Here are more figures from the Labour Market Report:

—The number of unemployed citizens for Q3 is 65,000, up from 64,200 in Q2.

—The number of unemployed residents for Q3 is 74,700, up from 72,600 in Q2.

However, the figure for total employment for Q3 is actually higher, excluding foreign domestic workers. Total employment has grown by 22,400, which is significantly higher than 6,200 in Q2, and 16,700 in the same quarter of last year.

The number of layoffs for Q3 was also higher than in the previous quarter. The latest quarter showed 2,900 layoffs, while for the second quarter there were only 2,320 layoffs. However, the number is still comparable to figures from Q3 of last year, when there were 2,860 layoffs.

The industries where the number of layoffs rose were in manufacturing, construction and services. Sixty-six percent of the layoffs were in services, while 21 percent were in manufacturing and 14 percent in construction.

However, in terms of employment growth, the MOM report states the following:

“Employment growth was broad-based across the main industries. Employment in Construction continued to grow by 5,300 due to increasing private and public sector construction activities. Growth in Services (16,100) was also higher than in the same period a year ago (13,800), led by Community, Social & Personal Services, Professional Services, and Information & Communications, while sectors such as Wholesale & Retail Trade registered smaller declines compared to the previous quarter. Employment in Manufacturing also increased (1,200)[2] after three consecutive quarters of declines, though the growth was lower compared to a year ago (3,500).”

MOM said that along with Workforce Singapore (WSG) and tripartite partners, it is watching the labour market situation closely, and is prepared to provide more support for Singaporeans under the Adapt and Grow (A&G) initiative.

Through the A&G, around 22,000 individuals found jobs in the first eight months of this year. Among them, more than half (approximately 12,000) were in the ages of 40 years old and above.

MOM added, “We urge employers to work with the government to train workers with skills gaps. We also encourage jobseekers to be open to opportunities in other sectors and occupations beyond what they are familiar with. Employers and jobseekers can tap on A&G programmes for employment support.”

The report can be read in full here./ TISG

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