International Business & Economy More jobless Singaporeans, Q1 rate grows to 3.2%: MOM

More jobless Singaporeans, Q1 rate grows to 3.2%: MOM

There were 2,500 retrenchments during the first quarter of 2019 compared to the 2,320 recorded in the first quarter of 2018

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Singapore – According to the initial figures released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on April 26 (Friday), the rate of citizen unemployment in Singapore slightly increased during the first quarter of this year.

The unemployment rate for December 2018 was 3.1 per cent, it rose to 3.2 per cent in March 2019, said MOM.

The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate remained at 2.2 per cent, a slight increase from 2.0 per cent last year. Likewise, the resident unemployment rate of 3.0 per cent increased by 0.1 percent compared to the previous year.

Take a look at the initial findings provided by MOM below:

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Photo: MOM website screengrab

As businesses retrench to ensure positive revenue, Singapore’s unemployment rate is expected to hit a 5-year-high this year.

There were 2,500 retrenchments during the first quarter of 2019 compared to the 2,320 recorded in the first quarter of 2018. The manufacturing industry experienced an increase in retrenchment while the rates remained the same for the service and construction industry.

“Preliminary indicators suggest that the labour market is holding up, even though there are signs that the economy is facing headwinds in 2019,” said MOM in their press release.

MOM plans to work closely with Workforce Singapore (WSG) and their tripartite partners through the Adapt & Grow Initiative to ensure job security for Singaporeans. “We also encourage workers to tap on support under the SkillsFuture initiative to upskill and reskill, so as to build career resilience and improve their career mobility,” said MOM.

Photo: MOM infographic

Patrick Tay, National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general, said in a Facebook on April 26 that “when analysing manpower figures, although indicative of the state of the labour market, we cannot look at unemployment and retrenchment figures alone as they may lull us into a false sense of security.”

“We need to also pay attention and co-relate this with employment rate, labour productivity, long-term unemployment and workforce/training participation rate,” he added. Statistics for these factors are expected to be released by MOM in June.

Fluctuations are expected from quarter to quarter especially due to the continued US-China trade tensions and “several key political elections across the globe” which add to the uncertainties, said Mr Tay.

“Both workers and businesses need to cultivate a mindset of agility and adaptability in order to effectively respond to economic transformation and an evolving workforce landscape,” he added.

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