Singapore labour market sees mixed performance in second quarter

Prospects in the market continue remain uneven cross sectors, says MOM

Singapore labour market sees mixed performance in second quarter
Singapore saw fewer retrenchments during the second quarter this year, but total employment saw a continued decline from the first three months, according to the Ministry of Manpower’s  (MOM’s) advance release of its Labour Market report.

Based on preliminary estimates, the overall unemployment rate (2.2%) was unchanged from the first quarter, but still higher than second quarter of 2016. The seasonally adjusted resident unemployment rate fell to 3.1% in June from 3.2% in March, while unemployment for citizens dropped to 3.3% in June from 3.5% in March. 

Total employment contracted by 8,400, mainly due to a decrease in Work Permit Holders in the marine and construction sectors. MOM said this was “a result of low oil prices and continued weakness in construction activities.” The decline compares to the 9,400 contraction during the first quarter and the growth of 2,100 in the same period in 2016.

Retrenchments totaled 3,500, an improvement from the 4,000 figure in the first quarter and the 4,800 total a year ago. The second-quarter figure reflects broad-based improvements across sectors.

Prospects in the market continue remain uneven cross sectors, according to the ministry. While the construction and marine industries continue to be cautious in hiring, there will be opportunities in finance and insurance, infocomms and media, healthcare, professional services and wholesale trade. The ministry recently announced moves to focus on jobs in these five sectors.

To respond to the elevated unemployment rate, the ministry said it continues to prioritize supporting displaced and at-risk workers and jobseekers. The ministry urged them to utilize Adapt and Grow programs, to re-skill and to visit WSG career centers.

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