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SINGAPORE (Dec 12): Singapore’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points in the 3Q19 ended September.

This was due to the continuation of cautious hiring sentiments as well as the declining number of job vacancies, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its 3Q19 Labour Market Report released on Thursday morning

The overall unemployment rate edged up to 2.3% from 2.2% in the previous quarter. 

The unemployment rate among residents and citizens each saw an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous quarter to 3.2% and 3.3% respectively. 

While the seasonally-adjusted resident long-term unemployment rate rose to 0.7% from 0.6% in the quarter ended June, the seasonally-adjusted number of job vacancies came in at 42,200 in 3Q19, a drop from 47,700 in 2Q19. 

This therefore resulted in a decline in the seasonally-adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons to 0.83 in 3Q19 from 0.94 in 2Q19. 

Nevertheless, MOM remains optimistic, citing several bright spots in the labour market despite the higher unemployment rate. For instance, total employment — excluding foreign domestic workers — grew by 21,7001 in 3Q19. This was a marked improvement from 6,200 in the previous quarter,  and 16,700 in 3Q18. 

The bulk of total employment growth reportedly came from the services sector, led by industries such as modern services, community, social and personal services, as well as administrative and support services. And the good news is that jobs continue to be available in these areas. 

And although retrenchments for the quarter came in slightly higher at 2,430 compared to the previous quarter’s 2,320 retrenchments, MOM says the figure is lower than the 2,860 retrenchments in 3Q18 which was due to business restructuring and reorganisation. 

In addition, the six-month re-entry rate into employment among retrenched residents in 3Q 2019 (65%) was higher than the previous quarter (60%) and a year ago (62%).

MOM continues to encourage employers to press on with business transformation and tap on programmes such as the Career Support Programme (CSP) and Career Trial (CT) to access a wider pool of jobseekers to meet their manpower needs.