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Labour Market, Third Quarter 2012

Unemployment Remained Low While Job Vacancies Increased

14 December 2012

  1. The labour market remained tight supported by domestic-oriented activities and tightening in foreign manpower controls. Employment growth stayed high, while unemployment remained low. Although layoffs rose in the third quarter, they remained substantially below recessionary highs. Meanwhile, job openings increased, resulting in a rise in job vacancies to job seekers ratio. These are the key findings from the “Labour Market, Third Quarter 2012” report released by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department.

    Main Findings
  2. Total employment grew by 26,200 in the third quarter of 2012, moderating from the growth of 31,900 in the same period last year and 31,700 in the second quarter of 2012. In the first nine months of 2012, total employment grew by 85,100, similar to the increase of 85,000 in the corresponding period last year.
  3. The growth in employment in services slowed from 21,200 in the third quarter of 2011 to 12,700 in the third quarter of 2012 and manufacturing from 3,900 to 3,700. Boosted by public infrastructure projects, construction continued to register high employment increase of 9,700, up from 6,700 in the same quarter last year.
  4. Unemployment rates remained low, reflecting high manpower demand amid the tightening in foreign manpower controls. The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate dipped marginally to 1.9% in September 2012 from 2.0% a quarter ago, while the unemployment rates for residents and Singapore citizens were unchanged at 2.8% and 3.0% respectively.
  5. Resident long-term unemployment rate declined slightly over the year from 0.5% in September 2011 to 0.4% in September 2012, returning to its low (for September periods) in 2007 before the 2009 recession.
  6. Layoffs rose after declining in the preceding two quarters. This was one of the few higher quarterly redundancy figures reported in post-recessionary periods, but they remained substantially below recessionary highs.
  7. Job openings increased, bucking the declines in the preceding two quarters. The seasonally adjusted vacancies rose by 13% over the quarter to 51,500 in September 2012. With the rise in job vacancies, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons rose over the quarter in September 2012, after declining in the two preceding quarters. For every 100 job seekers, there were now 125 job openings, up from 91 in June and 105 in March 2012.

    For More Information
  8. The report is available for online on MOM's Statistics and Publications webpage.