Layoffs in Singapore Witnessed a 7-Year High in 2016, After the Global Economic Downturn

December 14, 20161:00 pm700 views

The number of workers laid off in Singapore hit a seven-year high in the first nine months of 2016 – the highest since the global financial crisis in 2009, as according to the figures released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Total employment contracted by 2,700 in the third quarter of 2016, following slower growth in the past two quarters. This was the first decline since the first quarter of 2015. The decline was primarily due to contractions in Manufacturing and Construction, affecting mainly Work Permit Holders. Over the first nine months of 2016, total employment grew by 14,500, the lowest such growth since 2009 (100).

In the first nine months of 2016, 13,730 workers were laid off, higher than the same period in 2015 (10,220) and the highest since 2009 (21,210). However, re-entry rates have risen. More residents (49%) made redundant in the second quarter of 2016 secured re-employment by September 2016, an increase from the previous quarter (45%), after a general downtrend since December 2014 (59%).

While the unemployment rate remained broadly stable among residents in the third quarter of 2016, the resident long-term unemployment rate rose from a year ago, with the increase broad-based across age and qualifications.

“The contraction in total employment, heightened redundancy levels and decline in job vacancies to unemployed ratio reflect the current subdued global economic conditions and ongoing economic restructuring,” the ministry added.

Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) were more likely to be made redundant, the MOM report said. These workers formed the majority (73 percent) of Singapore residents laid off during the quarter, and those with tertiary qualifications also formed the bulk of resident layoffs, according to report by Channel News Asia.

Along with efforts to transform our industries and create quality jobs for our people, the tripartite partners will continue to step up help for workers affected by the economic situation to seize new job opportunities through SkillsFuture and Adapt & Grow initiatives amid this ongoing economic transition.

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point year-on-year to 2.1 percent in September as total employment contracted on a quarterly basis for the first time since the first quarter of 2015.

On a quarter-to-quarter basis, overall unemployment was unchanged in September versus June. Resident unemployment was 2.9 percent in September, unchanged year-on-year but down by 0.1 percentage point against June.

After declining for six consecutive quarters, the number of seasonally adjusted job vacancies rose slightly from 49,400 in June 2016 to 50,800 in September 2016. However, the seasonally-adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped to 0.91 in September 2016, from 0.93 in June 2016.


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