SINGAPORE (Dec 13): Job vacancies continue to outnumber the number of job seekers even as Singapore’s labour market showed further signs of improvement in 3Q18, finds the latest quarterly employment study by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

According to MOM’s Labour Market Report 3Q2018, total employment excluding foreign domestic workers (FDW) has more than doubled from the previous quarter, growing by 16,700 compared with growth of 6,500 in 2Q18.

Employment growth was most apparent in sectors such as community, social & personal services, financial & insurance services, information & communications as well as professional services.

Seasonally-adjusted unemployment rates among residents held steady from June-Sept 2018 at 2.9% compared to 3% in the previous quarter, while the overall rate rose slightly to 2.1% from 2% in 2Q.

MOM notes that all rates remained at, or below, on a y-o-y basis – although they were slightly higher than the two-year lows observed in March 2018, which reflects a continued inflow of job seekers into the labour market.

Meanwhile, the seasonally-adjusted resident long-term employment rate declined to 0.6% in Sept this year from 0.7% in June 2018, suggesting that workers were better able to secure employment as economic conditions improved.

A fewer 2,860 workers were also retrenched compared to 3,030 in 2Q18 and 3,400 in the same period a year ago.

Notably, the total number of retrenchments in 9M18 (8,220) was lower than in the same period ast year (11,040).

MOM highlights that the tightening of the labour market has eased, as the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped over the latest quarter to 1.05 in Sept 2018 from 1.1 in June 2018.

Nonetheless, there continues to be more vacancies than job seekers in Singapore for the third consecutive quarter.

Going forward, MOM cautions that hiring momentum may moderate against a backdrop of external trade tensions as well as slowing growth in Singapore’s key final demand markets.

Job opportunities will however continue to be available in sectors such as information & communications, financial & insurance services, healthcare, professional services, wholesale trade, and built environment, says the ministry.