Jobless rate up to 2.1%.
Some 1,200 net job losses were recorded in the manufacturing sector despite Singapore’s struggle to cope with the tight labour market. The number of jobs created in 1Q also fell across all key sectors. According to DBS, the total number of jobs created fell by 39% to 24.9K in the first quarter, from 40.6K previously. That’s a marked moderation in job creations. Whether this reflects a cyclical moderation in economic activity or structural weaknesses remains to be seen.
Here’s more from DBS:
Meanwhile, unemployment rate for the first quarter surprisingly inch higher despite the tight labour market condition. Headline unemployment rate for the first quarter registered 2.1% sa, compared to 1.8% sa. This is just the preliminary estimate and it is still subjected to revision. Moreover, as long as it hovers around the 2% mark, we can safely say that the economy is at full employment level.
However, while it is too early to draw a trend line on this, risk remains given that the number of jobs created fell across all key sectors.
As it is, the job vacancy to unemployed person ratio within the economy is still high and above parity. There are 1.44 jobs for every one unemployed person based on 4Q13 data. As long as this ratio remains above one, the labour market is still tight and any spike-up in unemployment rate is likely to be transient.