Employment of locals shrunk by 8,900 in the first half of this year while growth of foreign employment slowed to a six-year-low amid a slowing economy, the Ministry of Manpower said in its mid-year report on labour market developments today (Sept 15).
Employment of Singapore citizens and permanent residents, which stands at about 2.2 million, dropped as many people under the age of 25 left the workforce to become casual workers, or those who earn S$500 or less a month through part-time jobs, according to the MOM.
“As it becomes harder to hire foreign workers, retailers, food & beverage services and hotels are hiring more local part-timers to fill the void,” independent analyst Song Seng Wun said.
Local employment had continued to grow until last year amid increased pressure against foreign employment. Local employment grew by 50,000 jobs in the second half of 2014.
Foreign employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, marked its lowest half-yearly growth since 2009 of 8,000 in the first six months of 2015.
Total employment in Singapore, which comes to about 3.5 million, contracted by 1,000 in the first half of this year, marking a notable decline from the growth of 52,200 in the first half of 2014.
“The moderation in total employment growth comes amidst slower growth of the Singapore economy, which grew by 2.3 per cent year-on-year in 1H 2015, slower than 3.4 per cent in 1H 2014,” MOM said in the statement.
MOM attributed the strong growth of local employment in 2013 and 2014 to increases in the working-age population, as well as significant gains in resident Labour Force Participation Rates.
“Moving forward, these effects will be much smaller given the slower growth of the local working-age population, and limits to increasing the overall LFPR, which is already among the highest in the world,” MOM said.
In 2014, Singapore’s LFPR for residents aged 20-64 was 80.2 per cent, higher compared to the US (76.3 per cent), the UK (80 per cent), Japan (79.8 per cent) and South Korea (72.5 per cent).
Mr Song said the second half of this year is likely to see a modest rebound in local employment as retailers, hotels and food & beverage services tend to hire more towards the year-end to meet a seasonal, festive demand.
The overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.9 per cent in June 2015.
The resident long-term unemployment rate, which refers to residents unemployed for at least 25 weeks as a percentage to economically active residents, also remained low at 0.7 per cent in June.
news source & image credits: todayonline.com