According to Ministry of Manpower’s 2018 Labour Market Report of the first quarter, the seasonally adjusted job vacancies increased from 49,700 in December 2017 to 53,900 in March 2018. This resulted in the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons to improve from 92 job vacancies per 100 job seekers in December 2017 to 104 in March 2018.
PMETs formed most of the vacancies for this year, mainly in information and communications, electronics, professional services, and financial and insurance services. It contributed to a total increase of over 3,700 job vacancies. There was also an increase in openings in non-PMET sectors mostly in transportation and storage, and community, social and personal services. It contributed to over 600 job vacancies.
However, the average total weekly paid hours worked 3 per employee was lower in March 2018 than in December 2017. It decreased from 45.0 hours in December 2017 to 44.8 hours in March 2018. This is due in part to fewer paid overtime hours worked from 2.9 hours in December 2017 to 2.8 hours in March 2018. It has continued its downtrend as hours worked remained below the levels a year ago which was 45.2 hours.
It was a five-year low in terms of retrenchment as there were 2,320 retrenchments in the first quarter of 2018. This a decrease from 3,680 from the previous quarter in.
But some have been unable to to to re-employed as re-entry in employment has shown a decline as the six-month re-entry rate among retrenched residents. The rate dropped to 61% in the first quarter of 2018 from 63.2% in December 2017.
The decline in re-entry rate was more notable among PMETs, residents with post-secondary non-tertiary and diploma and professional qualifications, as well as residents aged 30 to 39.
On the one hand, total employment grew by 3,700 in the first quarter of 2018. The increase came after the seasonal high of 10,700 in the previous quarter and was a reversal from the decline of -9,400 in the same period a year ago.
On the other hand, there has been exceptional improvements in terms of unemployment rates. It has declined to a two-year low for the overall from 2.1% in December 2017 to 2.0% in March 2018. The improvements were observed for residents aged 30 and over, as well as residents with post secondary non-tertiary and degree qualifications.
In regards to the report, MOM said: “To keep unemployment low, it is critical to prepare workers and businesses to be agile and responsive to economic restructuring and the evolving employment landscape.”