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Singapore’s total employment expands for sixth straight quarter, now 3.8% above pre-pandemic level: MOM

Felicia Tan
Felicia Tan • 2 min read
Singapore’s total employment expands for sixth straight quarter, now 3.8% above pre-pandemic level: MOM
The number of jobs available in the market fell for the fourth straight quarter to 99,600 in March 2023.
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Total employment expanded by 33,000 in 1Q2023, making this the sixth consecutive quarter of growth, although this was a smaller increase compared to the previous quarter’s 43,500.

During the quarter, both resident and non-resident employment grew at 2,800 and 30,200 respectively. The figure excludes migrant domestic workers.

The increase brings Singapore’s total employment to 3.8% above its pre-pandemic level at December 2019 now, says the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). While resident employment had surpassed its pre-pandemic level earlier, this quarter saw non-resident employment exceeding its pre-pandemic level at 1.7% for the first time.

In 1Q2023, resident employment grew in the financial services sector, public administration and education, professional services and health & social services. However, employment fell in retail trade and food and beverage services as seasonal hiring for festivities ended. Growth for non-resident employment was mainly in construction and manufacturing.

While total employment expanded, the number of retrenchments rose during the quarter as well. In 1Q2023, retrenchments stood at 3,820, up from the 2,990 recorded in the 4Q2022. That said, the figure still remains below the peak in 2020, notes MOM.

The rise in retrenchments were mainly attributed to outward-oriented sectors such as in electronics manufacturing, information and communications and financial services. In electronics manufacturing, retrenchments nearly doubled to 1,190 from 670 in the previous quarter. Information and communications saw the number of retrenchments rise to 560 from 370 previously. Financial services also saw the number of retrenchments doubling to 540 from 260 previously.

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

Retrenchments in other sectors have remained stable. According to MOM, reorganisation or restructuring (47.7%) was the main reason for retrenchments, while 19.4% were due to recession or downturn.

Among the retrenched residents, 71.7% of them who were retrenched in 3Q2022 were able to find new roles by 1Q2023. The rate of re-entry has fared well compared to the pre-pandemic level of 65.9% in 4Q2019.

Unemployment rates remained low on the whole, at 1.8%, with residents at 2.6% and non-residents at 2.7%. The resident long-term unemployment rate, which stood at 0.6% also remained low in March 2023.

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

Job vacancies

The number of jobs available in the market fell for the fourth straight quarter to 99,600 in March 2023. The ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons remained high at 2.28, but also declined from 2.33 in December 2022.

In March, the vacancies were spread across different industries, particularly in the growth industries such as information & communications (8,100), health & social services (7,800), professional services (7,700) and financial services (6,300).

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