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Singapore – Employment growing in H1 despite economic headwinds: Ministry of Manpower

12 September 2019

Total employment in Singapore continued to expand in H1 2019, despite economic headwinds, according to the latest statement on the labour market by the Ministry of Manpower.

The Ministry’s data showed that total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers) continued to grow, expanding by 16,900 in 1H 2019. This was higher than the employment change in the same period a year ago (H1 2018: 6,900) but lower than the previous half-year (H2 2018: 31,400) which was boosted by seasonal hiring in the fourth quarter.

Local employment grew by 5,300 in 1H 2019, albeit at a slower pace compared with the year before (H1 2018: 6,500).

Foreign employment (excluding FDW) grew by 11,600 in H1 2019, more than the year before (1H 2018: 400).

At the same time, Singapore’s seasonally-adjusted resident unemployment rate rose from 3.0% in March 2019 to 3.1% in June 2019.  However, the seasonally-adjusted resident long-term unemployment rate held steady at 0.7% in June 2019.

The Ministry also reported that 5,550 employees were laid off in H1 2019, similar to the number of layoffs in H1 2018 (5,350). Restructuring and reorganisation remained the top reason for cutbacks cited by businesses.

According to the Ministry, the low number of layoffs and the steady resident long-term unemployment rate suggests that most employers are not laying off existing workers, but are exercising greater caution in hiring.

Meanwhile, the seasonally-adjusted number of job vacancies declined from 57,100 in March 2019 to 47,700 in June 2019. As a result, the seasonally-adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped to 0.94 in June 2019.

“Employment growth in 1H 2019 remained robust in sectors such as Community, Social & Personal Services, Professional Services, Financial & Insurance Services, and Information & Communications,” the Ministry stated. “Job opportunities in these sectors will continue to provide support to the labour market.”

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