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Unemployment rate up to 2.2% in Singapore, Ministry of Manpower report reveals

The Ministry of Manpower has released its Labour Market 2018 Report.

This quarterly release analyses the labour market situation. Topics covered include unemployment, employment, retrenchment, re-entry into employment, job vacancy, labour turnover and hours worked.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates were slightly higher than the previous quarter (overall: from 2.1% to 2.2%; residents: from 2.9% to 3.0%; citizens: from 3.0% to 3.1%). The resident long-term unemployment rate also rose (from 0.6% to 0.8%). For the year as a whole, the unemployment and long-term unemployment rates trended lower, due to the lower rates in the first three quarters of the year.

Total employment (excluding foreign domestic workers (FDW)) increased at a moderated pace in the fourth quarter of 2018 (14,700). For the whole of 2018, total employment grew by 38,300; the highest since 2014 (122,100). Local employment growth (27,400) was more than double that of foreigners (10,900). The local employment increase in 2018 came from services industries such as health & social services, transportation & storage, financial services, information & communications, and professional services.

There were fewer retrenchments, on both a quarterly and annual basis. Business restructuring and reorganisation remained the reason for the majority of retrenchments. The six-month re-entry rate also improved. 64% of those who were retrenched six months ago found employment in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from the 62% for the earlier cohort who re-entered in the third quarter of 2018.

While unemployment rose in December 2018, there continued to be more vacancies than job seekers. The seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons rose from 1.05 in September 2018 to 1.10 in December 2018, and was broadly similar to the ratio in June 2018 (1.08).

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