SINGAPORE (July 27): Singapore’s overall unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage point to 2.1% in June from 2.0% in March as more people entered the workforce, reported the Ministry of Manpower today.

Preliminary data in 2Q18 ended June showed that total employment grew even as unemployment rates ticked upwards. This happened as more persons entered the labour force to look for work on the back of continued expansion in economic activities. Retrenchments in 2Q18 were lower than the same period a year ago, but higher than the previous quarter.

Total employment -- excluding Foreign Domestic Workers -- increased by 7,100 in 2Q18, versus a 400 increase in 1Q18 and a prior-year decline of 7,900 in 1Q17. This reflected contractions in Construction and Manufacturing jobs moderated, said MOM.

The Services sector continued to add workers, such as in Transportation & Storage, Information & Communications, Community, Social & Personal Services, Professional Services and Financial & Insurance.

The number of retrenchments in 2Q18 bucked a downtrend since 4Q16, edging up to 2,500 in 2Q18 from 2,320 in 1Q18 due to ongoing restructuring and reorganisation.

The 3,640 retrenched in 2Q18 was lower than the same period a year ago. Retrenchments declined over the quarter in Services, remained largely unchanged in Construction and increased in Manufacturing.

MOM warned that retrenchments may rise as restructuring and reorganisation gather pace and urged workers and businesses to stay agile and responsive to emerging technological trends, economic restructuring and the evolving workforce landscape.

“MOM and Workforce Singapore remain focussed on helping jobseekers secure better employment outcomes through the Adapt and Grow initiative, and businesses to transform and grow through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme and the Capability Transfer Programme,” says the ministry.