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Retrenchments increase in 3Q2023; economic headwinds to continue weighing on labour market: MOM

Felicia Tan
Felicia Tan • 2 min read
Retrenchments increase in 3Q2023; economic headwinds to continue weighing on labour market: MOM
Re-entry into employment among retrenched residents improved to 65.3% in the 3Q2023, up from the rate of 59.4% in the quarter before.
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The labour market expanded in 3Q2023 with total employment for residents and non-residents increasing for the eighth straight quarter to 23,600, excluding migrant domestic workers, says the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its quarterly labour market report released on Dec 14.

Resident employment grew by 2,800, reversing from the contraction of -1,200 in the quarter before, while non-resident employment continued to grow at 20,800, albeit at a slower pace compared to the past quarters. Most of the increase in resident employment came from the growth sectors while the increase in non-resident employment was mainly from the construction, administrative & support services and food & beverage services sectors.

At the same time, the number of retrenchments rose to 4,110 in the third quarter, up from 3,200 in the previous quarter. This came as more firms went through reorganisations or restructuring activities, or faced business and cost concerns.

That said, re-entry into employment among retrenched residents improved to 65.3% in the 3Q2023, up from the rate of 59.4% in the 2Q2023, and unemployment rates remained low at 1.9% overall. However, the ministry highlighted the rise in resident long-term unemployment rate, which stood at 0.7% in September, up 0.2 percentage points q-o-q, “bears close monitoring”.

While the number of job vacancies fell to 78,400 in September from 87,900 in June, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons remained tight at 1.58 in September.

Looking ahead, the ministry noted the slowing pace of growth in employment and warned that economic headwinds will continue to weigh on the labour market.

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