Retrenchments rose in Q1 over manufacturing cutbacks

About 3,230 employees were retrenched in Q1 2019, up from 2,510 in the previous quarter and 2,320 a year ago, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s latest Labour Market report for the first quarter of 2019. The increase was driven by manufacturing retrenchments (from 380 to 1,040) and largely hit production and related workers from electronics.

Electronics formed 18 per cent of retrenchments in the first quarter, followed by services industries such as wholesale trade (16 per cent) and transportation and storage (10 per cent). The top reason cited for retrenchments was business restructuring and reorganisation.

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Professionals, managers, executives & technicians (PMETs) make up the majority (69%) of retrenched employees, as they form a higher share of the workforce, and were more prone to retrenchments.

At the same time, the six-month re-entry rate among retrenched residents rose for the second consecutive quarter, from 64% in Q4 2018 to 66% in Q1 2019. The increase was observed for most age, education and occupational groups, except for residents aged below 30, clerical, sales & service workers, as well as the post-secondary (non-tertiary) educated.

Overall, Singapore’s labour market held up in the first quarter, said MOM. 

Total employment climbed higher than that of the same period last year, growing by about 10,700, excluding foreign domestic workers, significantly higher than the same period a year ago (400).

The services sector was the main driver of total employment growth, (13,600 excluding FDW), supported by gains in community, social & personal services (5,800, nearly half from public administration & education), professional services (2,800), administrative & support services (2,200), financial services (1,600), information & communications (1,200) and transportation & storage (1,200), while construction posted its first employment gain in three years, reflecting an increase in both public and private sector construction activities.

“Preliminary indicators suggest that the labour market is holding up, even though there are signs that the economy is facing headwinds in 2019,” said MOM

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Unemployment rate
The rate of citizen unemployment in Singapore slightly increased during the first quarter of this year.

The unemployment rate for December 2018 was 3.1 per cent, it rose to 3.2 per cent in March 2019.

The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate remained at 2.2 per cent, a slight increase from 2.0 per cent last year. Likewise, the resident unemployment rate of 3.0 per cent increased by 0.1 percent compared to the previous year.

More Job vacancies than seekers, despite decline in number of vacancies

The seasonally adjusted number of job vacancies declined from 62,300 in December 2018 to 57,100 in March 2019, the first decline after 7 consecutive quarters of increase. However, there continued to be more vacancies than job seekers, although the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped from 1.10 in December 2018 to 1.08 in March 2019.