Fewer Singaporeans are unemployed, as the country’s overall unemployment rate falls slightly in the third quarter of the year, compared to the previous. According to the preliminary estimates released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Friday (Oct 27), unemployment rate declined to 2.1 percent in September from 2.2 percent in June.
In the ministry’s Labour Market Advance Release, the rate among Singaporeans has declined to 3.2 percent in September from 3.3 percent in June, while it remained unchanged for residents at 3.1 percent, Channel News Asia reports.
Compared to 2016, the overall unemployment rate remained unchanged while resident and citizen unemployment rates were higher. In September this year, it is estimated that about 71,900 residents were unemployed, higher than 70,800 in June 2017. However, the number has declined for citizens, from 63,800 to 62,600.
Total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, contracted by 2,500 in Q3, mainly owing to a continued decline in work permit holders in construction and manufacturing sectors. This was partly balanced with a pickup in employment in the services sector, including in professional services, information and communications, administrative and support services, finance and insurance, as well as accommodation.
In addition, MOM’s preliminary estimates also presented that as much as 3,600 workers were retrenched in Q3, compared to less than the 3,640 workers laid off in the previous quarter and 4,220 laid off in the same period last year. Services continued to form the bulk of retrenchments at 66 percent, followed by manufacturing at 19 percent and construction at 15per cent. This is the third consecutive quarter where retrenchments have stayed lower than the corresponding quarter a year ago. Labour demand is expected to pick up in the fourth quarter of the year, along with seasonal hiring as seen in previous years, added MOM.
See: Increasing Demand for Temporary Workers despite Tepid Job Market
New hiring remains limited in sectors such as construction and marine, while job openings are available in other sectors, particularly in infocomms and media, finance and insurance, healthcare, professional services, as well as wholesale trade.
Furthermore, owing to the on-going economic restructuring, resident unemployment rate could remain elevated in the medium term so as an effort to shift in composition of resident labour force and job-skills mismatch, MOM and tripartite partners will continue to support jobseekers and at-risk workers. In the first half of the year, the ministry said that it has covered more than 10,000 individuals under the Adapt and Grow Initiative, which aims to help Singaporeans adapt to changing job demands and upskills. From these numbers, more than 1,500 have joined skills conversion through professional conversion programmes.
In a Facebook post, NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay stated that the dip in the citizen unemployment rate was something positive and encouraging, and it was worth noting that employment contraction has been easing. He also said that as mentioned in NTUC Future Jobs, Skills and Training reports, there will be “positive new job opportunities” in fields including the financial sector, information and communications technology and healthcare.
“The labour movement will continue to work closely with our tripartite partners and industry stakeholders to endeavour in ensuring employers and workers embrace change, adopt the right mindset and stay able, agile and adaptable,” he wrote.
Read also: Higher CPF Savings for Women Signal Narrowing Gender Gap