SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released preliminary data about the labour market for the third quarter of 2023 on Thursday (Oct 26). Despite a weaker economic outlook, total employment has grown for the eighth consecutive quarter, excluding migrant domestic workers. There has been an increase in the number of employed residents and non-residents.

MOM adds that unemployment rates have remained low despite an uptick in retrenchments. “This suggests that most retrenched workers have been able to find new employment quickly,” the ministry added. For the third quarter of 2023, employment grew by 24,000, a figure MOM says is comparable to the year’s second quarter. Again, this figure does not include migrant domestic workers.

Generally, high-paying jobs in financial and professional services, as well as those in health and social services, saw the most increase regarding resident employment. For non-resident employment, the sectors that saw the most growth are construction, retail trade, food and beverage services, and administrative and support services. Unemployment rates, meanwhile, are at 2 per cent overall. For citizens, it’s at 3 per cent, and for residents, it’s at 2.8 per cent.

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However, retrenchments have increased from 3,200 in the second quarter of this year to 4,100 in the third quarter. Most of the retrenchments have come from wholesale trade, MOM said in its report. “This reflects the weaker external outlook the sector faced. The number of retrenchments in other remaining sectors remained broadly stable or declined.” The top reason for retrenchments for this quarter is still business reorganisation and/or restructuring.

“While the labour market continued to expand, the pace of employment growth has slowed compared to a year ago, amid the global economic slowdown. Business expectations worsened in September 2023. The proportion of firms which indicated an intention to hire in the next three months fell from 58.2% to 42.8 per cent. Similarly, the proportion of firms with an intention to raise wages dropped as well, from 28.0 per cent to 18.0 per cent. While unemployment rates remained low due to continued labour market tightness, they have been on a slow uptrend and may continue to rise further,” MOM added.

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A more detailed overview of the labour market for this quarter can be seen when The Labour Market Report Third Quarter 2023 is released by the middle of December. It will include the breakdown of resident and non-resident employment3, sectoral breakdowns, number of job vacancies, labour turnover, and re-entry rates among retrenched residents.


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