4 reasons why Singapore’s 1Q labour market statistics is gloomy

Singapore’s labour market slowed in the first quarter of 2016, according to a report released on Monday by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

“Amid softer economic conditions and as the economy restructures, redundancies are expected to rise in sectors affected by weak external demand,” MOM said.

Here are 4 highlights in the 1Q16 Labour Market report by MOM’s Manpower Research and Statistics Department:

1) Long-term unemployment rate increased

Long-term unemployment rate has increased to 0.7% from 0.5%, even as seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate remained low and unchanged at 1.9% in March 2016.

Unemployment among residents declined to 2.7% from 2.9%, while unemployment among citizens dipped to 2.6% from 3.0%.

2) Total employment growth lower

Total employment grew by 13,000 in the first quarter of 2016, lower than the seasonal high growth of 16,100 in 4Q15.

Total employment growth in 1Q16 was “significantly lower” than in 2013 and 2014, says MOM.

3) Higher number of workers made redundant

Some 4,710 workers were made redundant in the first quarter of 2016 — the highest first quarter redundancies since 2009.

According to MOM, only 46% of residents made redundant in the fourth quarter of 2015 re-entered employment by March 2016, down from 50% in the previous quarter.

4) Fewer job openings

Even though job openings continued to outnumber job seekers, the seasonally adjusted ratio has declined to 103 openings per 100 job seekers in March 2016, the lowest since June 2012 where there were 98 openings per 100 job seekers.

MOM said it will “continue to work closely with tripartite partners to provide employment support and help displaced locals re-enter employment”.

This article first appeared in The Edge Singapore Market Report.

The Edge Markets

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