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Labour Market Advance Release First Quarter 2017


  1. Based on preliminary estimates, labour market indicators were mixed in 1Q 2017. Redundancies declined and the resident unemployment rate remained unchanged. Total employment contracted on the back of continued weakness in Marine & Offshore Engineering and Construction.

    Review of 1Q 2017

    Resident unemployment rate remained unchanged
  2. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March 2017 remained unchanged among residents (3.2%) and citizens (3.5%), compared to December 2016. At the same time, the overall unemployment rate increased marginally from 2.2% to 2.3%.

    Total employment continued to decline in Marine and Construction
  3. Total employment declined by 8,500 in 1Q 2017, after growth of 2,300 in the previous quarter. The decline was mainly due to a decrease in Work Permit Holders in Marine and Construction, which continue to experience weakness.
    Redundancies declined
  4. Following an increase in the previous quarter, redundancies declined from 5,440 in 4Q 2016 to 4,800 in 1Q 2017. Lower redundancies were seen in Manufacturing, with slight increases in Construction and Services. With some sectors continuing to experience cyclical weakness, and as businesses continue to restructure, redundancies are expected to remain elevated.

  5. While the outlook for the global economy has improved slightly, benefitting some outward-oriented sectors in our economy, downside risks and uncertainties remain. The labour market outlook is likely to remain uneven across sectors. Hiring in some sectors remains cautious, but opportunities will continue to be available in others such as Healthcare, Infocomm, Finance & Insurance, and certain segments of Manufacturing.
  6. MOM’s priority remains to support displaced or at-risk individuals through “Adapt and Grow”1 programmes. Workers are encouraged to tap on these programmes to find new jobs, or to re-skill themselves to remain in employment or take up new careers. At the same time, the tripartite partners will help businesses transform and grow through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme2 and other initiatives.

    For more information
  7. The report is available on the Ministry of Manpower's website at


  1. The Adapt and Grow initiative is a package of recently enhanced employment support initiatives, including the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) to support those switching careers, and Career Support Programme (CSP) to help displaced PMETs secure a quality job with employers. More details can be found at:
  2. The Lean Enterprise Development scheme integrates Government assistance in developing capabilities, manpower and international markets, to help progressive SMEs transform and grow in the new manpower-lean landscape. More details can be found at: