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Labour Market Advance Release Third Quarter 2016

Total employment contracted while local unemployment rate held steady in the third quarter of 2016


  1. Overall unemployment rate in September 2016 was unchanged from June 2016, and held steady among residents and citizens. While the number of layoffs fell from the previous quarter, it was higher than a year ago. Overall employment contracted in the third quarter of 2016, after slowing growth in the previous two quarters. These are the key preliminary findings from the "Labour Market Advance Release Third Quarter 2016" report released by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

    Main Findings

    Overall unemployment rate unchanged, and held steady for residents and citizens
  2. Preliminary estimates showed that quarter-on-quarter, the seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.1% in September 2016, compared to June 2016. It held steady among residents (3.0% in Jun to 2.9% in Sep) and citizens (3.1% in Jun to 3.0% in Sep) over the same period.

    Employment contracted in the third quarter of 2016 in manufacturing and construction
  3. Total employment contracted in the third quarter of 2016 (-3,300), compared to growth of 4,200 in the second quarter of 2016, and 12,600 in the same period last year. This is primarily due to contractions in construction and manufacturing, affecting mainly work permit holders.
  4. Employment declined in manufacturing (-3,700) for the eighth consecutive quarter. It also turned negative in construction (-5,200) after four quarters of moderated growth. This was partially offset by employment growth in services (5,700), though the pace slowed from the previous quarter (7,600).

    Layoffs fell from the previous quarter
  5. Preliminary estimates showed that fewer workers were made redundant in the third quarter of 2016 (4,100) compared to the previous quarter (4,800). However, the number was still higher than that a year ago (3,460). Layoffs fell over the quarter in manufacturing and services, while it increased in construction.

  6. The contraction in total employment and heightened redundancy levels reflect the current subdued global economic conditions and internal economic restructuring. Local unemployment rate held steady amid slowing growth in local labour force. As we continue to transform our industries to remain competitive and to create and re-create more quality jobs for our people, the tripartite partners will continue to help displaced workers seize new job opportunities through SkillsFuture and Adapt & Grow initiatives1.

    For More Information
  7. The report is available on the Ministry of Manpower’s website at More comprehensive labour market data will be released in the “Labour Market Report, Third Quarter 2016” on 13 December 2016.


  1. Adapt and Grow was announced by Minister Lim Swee Say at the MOM Committee of Supply Debate 2016, and brings together a package of enhanced employment support initiatives, including the expansion of Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) to support those switching careers, and enhancement of the Career Support Programme (CSP) to help displaced PMETs secure a quality job with employers. More details can be found at