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Total employment in Singapore grows for 6th straight quarter

CNA – Singapore’s total employment rate grew in the first quarter of 2023 – the sixth consecutive quarter of increase – even as the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) noted some signs of cooling labour demand.

In MOM’s latest labour market report yesterday, total employment – excluding migrant domestic workers – went up by 33,000 in the first quarter this year, compared with 43,500 in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Total employment was at 3.8 per cent above the pre-pandemic level of December 2019, said the ministry, adding that non-resident employment exceeded that level for the first time – 1.7 per cent above – as of March 2023.

The increase in non-resident employment was mainly in construction and manufacturing, noted MOM.

Resident employment also rose over the quarter – at 4.9 per cent higher than pre-pandemic level – but declined in sectors such as retail trade and food and beverage services as the seasonal hiring for festivities ended.

People enter the office in the Central Business District in Singapore. PHOTO: CNA

“Looking ahead, employment growth is likely to moderate given the weaker external demand outlook and downside risks in the global economy,” said MOM.

Overall unemployment rates remained low at 1.8 per cent, said MOM.

“Even though the economic outlook has weakened, residents have yet to encounter more difficulties with job search,” it added.

Retrenchments continued to increase in the first quarter to 3,820 – an increase from 2,990 in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The rise in retrenchments – for the third consecutive quarter – was mainly driven by the electronics manufacturing, information and communications and financial services sectors, said MOM.

“Retrenchments in other sectors have remained stable,” the ministry added.

The Manpower Ministry said retrenchments were mainly due to reorganisation or restructuring at 47.7 per cent, while 19.4 per cent were due to recession or downturn.

MOM noted that the labour market tightness eased as job vacancies declined for the fourth consecutive quarter to 99,600 in March 2023.

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