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Employment Situation In Fourth Quarter 2006: 2006 Saw Record High Employment Creation for Locals

Employment

 

The strong economy continued to generate record employment gains. Preliminary estimates show that total employment grew by 48,800 in the fourth quarter of 2006, considerably higher than the gains of 35,300 in the same period a year ago, and up from 43,000 in the third quarter of 2006.

2.   All major sectors registered employment growth in the fourth quarter of 2006. The bulk of the gains continued to come from services (32,300), supported by seasonal hirings for year-end festivities. Manufacturing and construction also continued to post increases in employment of 10,200 and 5,900 respectively.

Table 1.1: Employment (Quarterly)

                                                                                                                                                                           (In Thousands)

 
Employment Change
Employment Level as at Dec 06 p
3Q 05
4Q 05
1Q 06
2Q 06
3Q 06
4Q 06p
Total*
28.5
35.3
45.0
36.4
43.0
48.8
2,493.2
Manufacturing
8.0
6.4
11.1
8.4
11.3
10.2
516.8
Construction
2.2
1.7
5.6
3.5
5.6
5.9
255.7
Services
18.5
25.7
28.0
24.4
25.9
32.3
1,704.5

P: Preliminary estimates
*: Total includes agriculture, fishing, quarrying, utilities and sewerage & waste management
Data may not add up due to rounding
 

3.   Total employment creation for the whole of 2006 hit an all-time high of 173,300, surpassing the previous year's gains of 113,300. This brought the total number employed to 2,493,200 as at December 2006.

4.   Local employment grew by a new record high of 88,200 in 20061, up from gains of 63,500 in 2005. This exceeds the normal increase in local labour supply of around 33,000 a year, boosted by more people entering the labour force, amid increased job opportunities2. Against a larger base of jobs created, locals took up slightly over half (51%) of the total employment created in 2006.

5.   Foreign employment rose by 85,100 in 2006, enabling the economy to grow beyond the limits of Singapore's indigenous workforce.  In contrast, during the difficult years of 2001 to 2003, foreigners bore the brunt of job losses (Table 1.2). As at December 2006, there were 756,300 foreigners, forming 30% of the total employment pool. Although slightly higher than 29% a year ago, the foreign share is lower than 31% in December 2000.
 
Table 1.2: Employment (Annual)
(In Thousands)

 
Employment Change
Employment Level as at Dec 06 p
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006p
Total
108.5
-0.1
-22.9
-12.9
71.4
113.3
173.3
2,493.2
Local
58.4
1.3
19.4
14.9
49.9
63.5
88.2
1,736.9
Foreign
50.1
-1.4
-42.3
-27.9
21.5
49.8
85.1
756.3
 
P:  Preliminary estimates
Locals also known as residents refer to Singapore citizens and permanent residents
Data may not add up due to rounding
 
Retrenchment

6.   Preliminary findings from a survey of private sector establishments with at least 25 employees show that 3,000 workers were retrenched in the fourth quarter of 2006. This is higher than the 2,435 retrenched in the previous quarter, but lower than 3,200 in the same quarter a year ago.

7.   The majority of the workers were retrenched from the manufacturing sector (2,400), reflecting the on-going restructuring in the electronics industry. Another 600 of the workers laid off came from the services industries.

Table 2.1: Retrenchment (Quarterly)

 
3Q 05
4Q 05
1Q 06
2Q 06
3Q 06
4Q 06P
Total*
2,810
3,200
3,511
3,211
2,435
3,000
Manufacturing
1,830
2,466
2,586
1,918
1,859
2,400
Construction
29
58
62
318
11
-
Services
947
671
821
968
565
600

P:  Preliminary estimates
*: Total includes agriculture, fishing, quarrying, utilities and sewerage & waste management.
‘-‘: nil or negligible

8.   Total retrenchment for the whole of 2006 was 12,200. Although this is higher than 10,294 in 2005, it is only about half the number retrenched in 2001 (25,838). Manufacturing formed the bulk of retrenchments (8,800), followed by services (3,000) and construction (400) in 2006.

Table 2.2: Retrenchment (Annual)

 
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006p
Total*
11,624
25,838
19,086
16,400
10,191
10,294
12,200
Manufacturing
7, 407
14, 440
9, 141
7, 230
4 , 483
6, 809
8,800
Construction
251
698
850
627
373
209
400
Services
3,966
10,497
9,013
8,278
5,022
3,263
3,000

P:  Preliminary estimates
*: Total includes agriculture, fishing, quarrying, utilities and sewerage & waste management.

Unemployment

9.   The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate was 2.6% in December 2006, a slight decline from 2.7% in September 2006. Despite the recent increase in resident labour supply3, the resident unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% (seasonally adjusted) since June 2006.

10.   An estimated 69,600 residents were unemployed in December 2006. The seasonally adjusted figure was 68,600.

Table 3.1: Unemployment Rate (Quarterly)

 
Sep 05
Dec 05
Mar 06
Jun 06
Sep 06
Dec 06p
Seasonally Adjusted
 
 
 
 
 
 
Overall (%)
3.2
2.6
2.6
2.8
2.7
2.6
Resident (%)
4.2
3.4
3.4
3.6
3.6
3.6
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Non-Seasonally Adjusted
 
 
 
 
 
 
Overall (%)
2.9
2.6
2.2
3.4
2.4
2.6
Resident (%)
3.8
3.4
2.9
4.5
3.2
3.6

P:  Preliminary estimates 

11.   For the whole year of 2006, overall unemployment rate averaged 2.7%, which is lower than 3.1% in 2005 and the high of 4.0% experienced during the economic slowdown in 2003. Similarly, the resident unemployment rate improved to 3.6% in 2006, from 4.1% in 2005 and 5.2% in 2003. On average, 67,500 residents were unemployed in 2006, down from 74,900 in 2005 and the high of 91,200 in 2003.

 Table 3.2: Unemployment Rate (Annual)

 
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006p
Overall (%)
2.7
2.7
3.6
4.0
3.4
3.1
2.7
Resident (%)
3.7
3.7
4.8
5.2
4.4
4.1
3.6
 
 P:  Preliminary estimates
Annual figures are the simple averages of the unemployment figures obtained at quarterly intervals.
 
For More Information
 
12.   Information on data sources and coverage, as well as definitions of key concepts used in the report is in the attached Explanatory Notes. The preliminary data estimates are available online at the Ministry of Manpower's website.  A more detailed breakdown of the preliminary estimates will be released in the Economic Survey of Singapore, 2006.
 
13.   The above is a statistical release of the Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry.

1 The data series for total employment change started in1978, but breakdown into locals and foreigners was available only from 1982.
2 The increase in resident (local) labour supply averaged 32,900 a year from 2000 to 2004.
3 The resident labour supply is estimated to have risen by 93,600 in 2006, up from 51,200 in 2005 and an average of 32,900 per year from 2000 to 2004.