employment, unemployment, retrenchments, labour market singapore

Total employment increased - with more residents finding employment, and non-resident employment rebounding strongly after border restrictions were relaxed significantly starting April.

According to advance estimates by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department (MRSD), Singapore's labour market continued to improve at a "steady pace" in Q2 2022.

In particular, total employment increased - with more residents finding employment, and non-resident employment rebounding strongly after border restrictions were relaxed significantly starting April.

Meanwhile, unemployment rates continued to stand at pre-COVID levels in the period, and retrenchment figures remained low.

The report delved into further details on the above, as follows:

Non-resident employment made up a large proportion of total employment growth 

In Q2 this year, total employment in Singapore grew by 64,000 (1.9%), recording a faster pace compared to the previous quarter (42,000; 1.2%). 

Looking at resident employment, the increases observed were concentrated in growth sectors such as information & communications, professional services, and financial services. According to MRSD, this suggests that job growth among residents has thus far been for higher-skilled jobs.

On the non-resident employment front, the report added that similar to Q1 2022, a larger proportion of the total employment increase observed was attributed to non-residents, mainly in construction and manufacturing — sectors with a lower share of residents.

"With the significant relaxation of border controls since April this year, employers in such sectors have been hiring to backfill positions and meet rising demand," it was shared.

Moving forward, the Department expects non-resident employment in the country to "continue growing at a robust pace as it catches up to its pre-COVID level". On the other hand, having surpassed pre-COVID levels by about 4% since December last year, it added that resident employment could, in the months ahead, "see relatively lower growth as the readily available resident labour supply shrinks with the improving unemployment situation."

Number of unemployed residents dropped q-on-q from March to June 

On the unemployment front, rates have remained largely unchanged after reaching pre-COVID levels in February 2022, it was highlighted in the report.

Breaking the figures down – in June, unemployment rates were 2.1% overall, 2.9% for residents, and 3.1% for citizens. Additionally, the number of unemployed residents fell from 73,900 in March 2022 to 71,100 in June.

According to MRSD, unemployment rates are expected to stay low, amidst a tight labour market. "However, risks remain in the global economy (such as further escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and global supply chain disruptions), which could dampen business sentiments and, consequently, the demand for manpower." 

Retrenchments are expected to decline further over the quarter

Last, per the report, the number of retrenchments recorded in Q2 is expected to decline further to 1,000, or 0.5 retrenched per 1,000 employees.

As with recent quarters, the report added, business reorganisation/restructuring remained the top reason for retrenchments in the country. 

Hiring is expected to remain strong in the company months

Apart from the data above, the report also shared that based on polls carried out with companies, hiring in Singapore is expected to remain strong in the months to come, as the proportion of companies indicating that they will increase their manpower in the next three months continued to rise to 69% in June 2022, up from 68% in March.

"However, wage pressures could ease, as fewer firms (28%) in June 2022 indicated that they were thinking of increasing the wages of their employees, as compared to March (31%)," it was added.

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Image / MRSD

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