Employers are hiring more locals and fewer foreigners as foreign manpower curbs continue to bite.
Growth of foreign workers, excluding maids, slowed to 27,000 in the first half of this year, down 34,100 in the same period last year. This is also the lowest growth since the first half of 2010, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Friday. The figure does not include domestic maids.
Construction workers and maids made up the lion's share, while the growth in number of Employment Pass and S Pass holders was the lowest since the first half of 2009. Between January and June this year, local employment rose to 34,100, up from 22,800 in the first six months last year. But even as employment continue to grow, unemployment also rose to 2.1 per cent in the second quarter of the year, up from 1.9 per cent in the first quarter.
The ministry said the labour market for the rest of the year is expected to remain tight. Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said that the Government will not let up on its curbs on foreign workers. He added: "We will continue to take progressive steps to reduce the inflow of foreign workers, and urge companies to adopt practical productivity improvement strategies, as we move towards a manpower-lean economy."