Things appear to be improving in Singapore’s labour market, for unemployment rates have fallen for the fourth consecutive month.

The nation’s overall unemployment rate dipped to 3% in February, from 3.2% in the previous month, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed in its monthly unemployment situation report on April 7.

Unemployment amongst residents – which comprises of Singaporeans and permanent residents – edged down to 4.1% in February, from 4.3% in January. Similarly, citizen joblessness declined to 4.3%, from 4.5% in the month prior. 

Overall, 96,800 residents were unemployment in February, of whom 85,900 were citizens. This is an improvement from the 101,900 unemployment residents in January, which includes 89,300 citizens.

“Although the unemployment rates remain elevated and have not yet returned to pre-Covid levels, we are seeing good progress with jobs growth,” noted Manpower Minister Josephine Teo in a Facebook post on April 7.

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Separately, she said that payouts under the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) had been made to 27,000 employers who collectively hired 130,000 locals in the first three months of its implementation.

The JGI is a wage subsidy scheme that encourages companies to hire more Singaporeans and permanent residents. It was first announced last August and was meant to last for five months.  It has since been extended till this September after receiving an additional $5.2 billion boost in Budget 2021.

Still, “with every dip in the unemployment rate, the next drop will likely be harder to achieve," cautioned Teo. 

“It depends on whether hiring demand is sustained among employers, and their willingness to look beyond candidates with familiar profiles,” she explained.

Meanwhile, the remaining jobseekers may need to consider employment in roles or sectors they previously did not, and be willing to invest time to reskill, added Teo.