Singapore’s labour market continued to improve in the third quarter with lower resident unemployment rate and fewer retrenchments, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM).
In its latest labour market report released on Wednesday (Dec 13), the jobless rate for Singaporeans was 3.2 percent in September, declining from 3.3 percent in June and 3.5 percent in March. Overall, the country’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at figures 2.2 percent and for local residents at 3.1 percent.
Meanwhile, business sectors continued to create job openings, with total employment (excluding foreign domestic workers) of 4,100 jobs in the third quarter. According to MOM, the drop was lower than in the first two quarters, and affected mostly migrant workers in the marine and construction sectors.
Retrenchments also show declining figures, dipping from 3,640 in the second quarter to 3,400 in the third. In the first nine months of 2017, the total number of retrenchments was 11,040, lower than 13,730 in the same period in 2016, Channel News Asia.
The report also expected local employment to continue seeing growth in 2017. For the whole year, local employment has grown to more than 11,200 recorded in 2016, although total employment could be contract jobs owing to declines in the marine and construction sector, the ministry said.
MOM added that, “In line with the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s 2018 GDP growth forecast of 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, with growth likely to come in at around the middle of the forecast range, local employment is expected to continue to grow next year but remain uneven across sectors.”
Regarding to the findings, CEO of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals, Mayank Parekh said that while it was reassuring to see that Singapore’s labour market is improving, it might be too early to say what it will impact on the long-term unemployment rates.
He pointed out that increasing number of short-term contracts and on-demand workforce has been changing the nature of job market. Digital transformation and growing use of technology is also impacting skillsets. Owing to the trend, companies will be looking to their HR departments to navigate through these new challenges.
Therefore, he advised job seekers in Singapore to always be open to try new work models, while taking advantage of various job matching schemes provided by the government.