Low employment growth persists for third quarter: MOM report

Employment in Singapore continued to see low growth in the third quarter, while unemployment for residents and citizens rose slightly but remained low.
Employment in Singapore continued to see low growth in the third quarter, while unemployment for residents and citizens rose slightly but remained low.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Low employment growth persisted in the third quarter of 2015,while unemployment edged up for residents and citizens, according to the Manpower Ministry's latest labour market report released on Tuesday (Dec 15).

The third quarter continued the year's trend of exhibiting the lowest employment growth in six years.

While total employment grew by 12,600 - about 3,000 more than in the preceding quarter - it was almost one-third the growth in the same period in 2014.

The first three quarters saw a total of 16,200 workers added to the labour force - a sharp fall from 89,400 in the same period last year and the lowest growth since the recession year of 2009.

These employment gains were driven mainly by the services sector, which added 13,300 workers - although wholesale and retail trade and real estate services continued to cut back on hiring.

A slackening in construction activities saw slower employment growth in that sector, while hiring for manufacturing tumbled for the fourth quarter in a row amid continued weakness in output.

While overall unemployment remained stable at 2 per cent, it rose for residents and citizens for the second quarter in a row, amid softer economic conditions. It went up to 3 per cent for residents and 3.1 per cent for citizens, up from 2.8 per cent and 2.9 per cent in June.

More workers were laid off in the third quarter, with 3,460 being made redundant. This was about 200 more workers than in the preceding quarter, but comparable to the same period last year.

Layoffs rose across all sectors, with professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) making up about 70 per cent of all residents retrenched in this period.

Meanwhile, the rate of re-entry into employment within six months of redundancy remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 55 per cent.

But job-seekers aged 40 and above found it increasingly hard to find new employment, as their re-entry rates fell for the third quarter in a row.

Job openings continued to outnumber job-seekers, but the ratio evened out further, with seasonally adjusted vacancies declining over the quarter by 11 per cent to 55,600 in September.

This brought the ratio of job vacancies to job-seekers down to 116 openings per 100 seekers, from 121 in June - levels not seen since the first half of 2013.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg