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Retrenchments in Singapore rose to 4,100 in 3Q2023 with majority from wholesale trade sector: MOM

Felicia Tan
Felicia Tan • 2 min read
Retrenchments in Singapore rose to 4,100 in 3Q2023 with majority from wholesale trade sector: MOM
Based on advance estimates, unemployment rates remained largely stable at 2.0% on the whole as at September.
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Retrenchments in Singapore rose to 4,100 in 3Q2023 from 3,200 in the corresponding quarter the year before. The majority of the increase came from the wholesale trade sector, which reflects the weaker external outlook faced by the sector, says the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in an Oct 26 statement.

The number of retrenchments in the rest of the sectors remained broadly stable or declined y-o-y. Meanwhile, business reorganisations and restructuring remained the top reasons behind the retrenchments during the quarter.

At the same time, unemployment rates remained largely stable at 2.0% as at September despite the slight increase in July. Of the total rate, the unemployment rate for Singapore residents were at 2.8% while citizens stood at 3.0%. The lower rates also suggest that most of the workers who were retrenched were able to find new employment quickly, notes the MOM.

Despite the weaker outlook, advance estimates showed that the labour market expanded in 3Q2023 with total employment excluding migrant domestic workers expanding by 24,000. The figure, which is comparable q-o-q, marks the expansion for eight straight quarters. Employment growth came from residents and non-residents.

Resident employment expanded in growth sectors like financial services and professional services, as well as in health and social services.

Non-resident employment expanded in sectors such as construction, retail trade, food and beverage (F&B) services and administrative and support services.

See also: Singapore plans law to support gig workers’ retirement needs

In its outlook statement, MOM notes that the pace of employment growth slowed compared to a year ago while the labour market continued to expand. Business expectations worsened in September while the proportion of firms which indicated an intention to hire in the next three months fell to 42.8% from 58.2%.

The proportion of firms that intend to raise wages also fell to 18.0% from 28.0%.

“While unemployment rates remained low due to continued labour market tightness, they have been on a slow uptrend and may continue to rise further,” says MOM.

See also: Watch for 'presenteeism' when employees are not fully functioning in the workplace: Intellect report

“The government encourages employers and workers to make full use of available programmes to remain competitive and resilient amidst economic uncertainty,” it adds.

The Labour Market report for the 3Q2023 will be released in mid-December this year.

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