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Oral Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Job Growth, the Trends and Implications on Economy

Notice Paper No. 198 of 2015 for The Sitting On 13 July 2015 Question No. 687 For Oral Answer

MP:  Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what accounts for the drastic fall in job growth from 28,300 jobs in Q1 2014 and 40,700 jobs in Q4 2014 to just 300 jobs in Q1 2015; (b) whether this trend has continued into Q2 2015; and (c) what implications does this have on Singapore's economy.


  1. After five years of strong increases, total employment fell by 6,100 in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the growth of 28,300 in the first quarter of 2014 and 40,700 in the fourth quarter of 2014. This is due to seasonal declines and sharper moderation in employment growth in the manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as parts of the services sector (retail, real estate services, and accommodation & food services).
  2. The moderation in employment growth needs to be seen in the context of our labour market and the repositioning of our economy. First, we have seen a sustained increase in our employment rate, to a high of 79.7% last year1.Our unemployment rate has remained low in the last few years. Local workforce growth going forward will be slower.
  3. Second, job vacancies remain high and outnumber jobseekers. The seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons remains stable at 143 openings per 100 jobseekers in March 2015, compared with 142 in December 2014.
  4. Third, to sustain growth, we are moving towards a more manpower-lean economy. We will continue to encourage businesses to reduce their reliance on labour, especially low-skilled foreign workers. We will also focus more on upgrading the skills of our local manpower, and improving productivity and increasing the pace innovation as the source of future growth and competitiveness.     
  5. Employment data for the second quarter of 2015 is not yet available. We are monitoring the employment trends closely in the coming quarters.

1Resident Employment Rate Aged 25 to 64, June 2014.