SINGAPORE (Dec 20): Singapore’s labour market came under some pressure earlier this year, as the slowing economy saw hiring sentiment turning more cautious across industries. In its most recent Labour Market Report for 3Q2019 ended Sept 30, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) highlighted that, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, overall unemployment was up 0.1 percentage point to 2.3% - the highest level it has been at for the year (see Chart 1). This comes as both resident and citizen unemployment levels inched up 0.1 percentage point each to 3.2% and 3.3% respectively. It translates into a total of 138,800 unemployed persons, of which 74,200 are residents and 64,600 are citizens.

Simultaneously, retrenchment levels were also up this year with the number of employees laid off increasing to 2,430 in 3Q19 (see Chart 2). This follows re-structuring and re-organisation efforts as well as weaker industry performance, MOM’s report points out. 

Among the various industry sectors, the retail trade industry, suffered the biggest magnitude of jobs lost in 3Q19, with a 1.2% contraction in payrolls. The number of jobs lost in the wholesale trade was down 0.6% in the same period. Jobs were lost in three manufacturing sub-sectors as well, with cuts ranging from 0.8% to 0.3%.

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