SINGAPORE (Sept 12): Even as Singapore’s economy is expected to record slower growth in 2019, the labour market has remained positive in the first half of the year, according to the Ministry of Manpower.

In particular, local employment expanded by 5,300 during the period, albeit slower than the growth of 6,500 recorded in 1H18.

Foreign employment excluding FDW also increased by 11,600 in 1H19, driven by growth in services and turnaround in construction.

By pass type, foreign employment growth was driven by work permit & other work passes holders (6,200), and employment pass holders (3,200).

Overall, total employment excluding foreign domestic workers (FDW) grew by 16,900 during the period – faster than the growth of 6,900 recorded in 1H18, though lower than the 31,400 registered in 1H17.

According to MOM, employment growth remained “robust” across sectors such as community, social & personal services, professional services, financial & insurance services, and information & communications.

“Job opportunities in these sectors will continue to provide support to the labour market,” the ministry says in a statement today.

Meanwhile, the number of retrenchments and job vacancies remained stable in 1H19.

Some 5,550 employees were retrenched during the period, driven by restructuring and reorganisation reasons. This was comparable to the 5,350 employees retrenched in 1H18.

At the same time, the seasonally-adjusted number of job vacancies declined to 47,700 in June from 57,100 in March. As a result, the seasonally-adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped to 0.94 in June 2019.

“This suggests that most employers are not laying off existing workers, but are exercising greater caution in hiring,” says MOM.

According to MOM, the seasonally-adjusted resident unemployment rate rose to 3.1% in June from 3.0% in March.

However, the seasonally-adjusted resident long-term unemployment rate held steady at 0.7% in June.

MOM says it will work with Workforce Singapore and tripartite partners to “closely” monitor the labour market situation.

It adds that the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation is proactively reaching out to retrenched workers to provide them with timely employment support, including job matching.

The taskforce will also continue to engage retrenching companies on responsible retrenchment practices, says MOM.