Labour Market Advance Release 1Q 2016
Overall unemployment unchanged, employment growth slowed and layoffs fell from previous quarter
- Overall unemployment in March 2016 was unchanged from December 2015. However, it declined for residents and citizens, largely due to a lower labour force participation rate among youths aged 15 to 24. Employment grew at a slower pace in the first quarter 2016 compared with fourth quarter 2015, following the end of festivities. Layoffs fell from the previous quarter. These are the key preliminary findings from the "Labour Market Advance Release First Quarter 2016" report released by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Overall unemployment unchanged
- Preliminary estimates showed that the overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 1.9% from December 2015 to March 2016. Over the same period, unemployment rate declined among residents (2.9% to 2.7%) and citizens (3.0% to 2.6%). This was largely due to a lower labour force participation rate among youths aged 15 to 24.
- Total employment grew by 11,400 in the first quarter of 2016. This was lower than the seasonally high growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 (16,100) and a reversal from the decline (-6,100) in the first quarter of 2015.
- The employment increase in the first quarter of 2016 was mainly driven by services (11,900), though growth had slowed from the previous quarter (21,500), following the end of festivities. While manufacturing employment extended its decline (-2,000) for the sixth consecutive quarter, the rate of decline in the first quarter of 2016 had slowed relative to the previous five quarters (-4,700 on average). On the other hand, employment in construction grew faster in the first quarter of 2016 (1,600) than the preceding quarter (900).
- In March 2016, total employment reached 3,667,600, 1.4% higher than a year ago. This was faster than the 0.9% pace in December 2015.
Layoffs fell from the previous quarter
- Preliminary estimates showed that fewer workers were made redundant in the first quarter of 2016 (4,600) compared to the previous quarter (5,370). However, the number was still higher than a year ago (3,500). Layoffs fell over the quarter in manufacturing and construction, and increased in services.
- Amid the cyclical weakness and as the economy restructures, some consolidation and exit of businesses is expected, contributing to redundancies. While unemployment remains low and has declined for locals, MOM is closely monitoring the current economic and labour market situation, and is working closely with tripartite partners to strengthen employment support to help displaced locals re-enter employment.
For More Information
- The report is available on the Ministry of Manpower’s website at http://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Home.aspx. More comprehensive labour market data will be released in the “Labour Market Report, First Quarter 2016” on 13 June 2016.