Dip in Unemployment and Rise in Job Openings Signals Labour Market Recovery

September 20, 201712:23 pm365 views

A drop in the unemployment rate, an increase in job openings, as well as a dip in retrenchment for Singapore residents are among the most significant signals that mark recovery in labour market. From official statistics released on Thursday (Sep 14) indicated that the hiring outlook and opportunity is showing improvement, even though the demand for workers is uneven across sectors.

Maybank Kim Eng economist Chua Hak Bin stated that the country has passed through the worst of the job market issues with its economic growth recovery.

Figures from Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reveal that 3,640 workers were laid off in the second quarter of this year, marking a dip from the first quarter (4,000) and a year ago (4,800). Of the number, three in four retrenched residents belong to the group professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

However, the ministry said that both unemployment and long-term unemployment for residents could remain elevated in the medium term owing to ongoing restructuring, job-skills mismatch, as well as shifts in the make-up of resident labour force.

Almost two-thirds of resident laid off in the fourth quarter of last year were going back to the workforce in the second quarter of this year. But, those aged 50 and older remained facing some difficulties, as their re-entry rate was 52 percent.

Additionally, MOM said 4,000 more local residents were employed in June than in December last year, with three sectors showing the highest spike: community, social and personal services; finance and insurance services; and information and communication.

See: MOM to Launch New Work Pass Card for Foreign Workers

Meanwhile, Singapore employed fewer foreigners, as the pool shrank by 21,400, excluding maids. Most of immigrant workers who left the country were work permit holders. For the first time since June 2013, the number of Employment Pass holders fell by 2,400 in June, down from last December’s figure.

The statistics revealed total employment stood at 3,659,000 as at June this year, and labour productivity rose 2.8 per cent in the first half of the year. Sectors which did well include manufacturing, transport and storage, and wholesale and retail trade.

For job seekers, there were 49,000 vacancies available in June, up from 46,800 in March, after accounting for seasonal variations. MOM sees companies are bringing in more workers in the second half of the year, in order to cope with seasonal demand and carry out better growth, Straits Times reports.

In a recent Facebook post, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay said that he expected to see employers share the rewards with their employees. He also forecasts more opportunities in finance, infocomm technology, healthcare and wholesale trade as well as engineering-manufacturing, a field which includes aerospace, precision engineering, energy and chemicals and electronics.

Read also: Good Job Prospects for Expats but Hampered Quality of Life in China: Survey Findings

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