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Labour Market Report 1Q 2017


  1. The labour market situation remained mixed, with the overall and resident unemployment rate unchanged from the previous quarter, while redundancies declined. At the same time, the resident long-term unemployment rate edging up slightly compared to a year ago.

    Main Findings

    Resident unemployment rate remained unchanged, while long-term unemployment rate edged up slightly
  2. The seasonally adjusted resident unemployment rate in March 2017 remained unchanged (3.2%) over the previous quarter, while the resident long-term unemployment rate edged up from 0.7% in March 2016 to 0.8% in March 2017.

    Total employment continued to decline in Manufacturing and Construction, but grew in Community, Social & Personal Services and Financial & Insurance Services
  3. Total employment declined by 6,8001 in 1Q 2017, after modest growth of 2,300 in the previous quarter. The decline reflected a reduction in the foreign workforce, mainly due to a decrease in Work Permit Holders in Manufacturing and Construction, a result of low oil prices and continued weakness in private sector construction activity respectively. At the same time, employment continued to grow in sectors such as Community, Social & Personal Services and Financial & Insurance Services.

    Redundancies declined, while resident re-entry rates remained stable
  4. Redundancies declined to 4,0002 in 1Q 2017, from 5,440 in 4Q 2016 and 4,710 a year ago. In particular, Manufacturing redundancies were the lowest in the past six quarters. The six-month re-entry rate among residents made redundant was 64% in 1Q 20173, comparable to the previous quarter (65%). In particular, younger workers below 30 (78%) and Clerical, Sales and Service Workers (78%) had the highest rates of re-entry.

    Ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons improved slightly
  5. After declining for the previous seven quarters, the seasonally-adjusted job vacancies to unemployed persons ratio improved slightly from 0.77 in December 2016 to 0.81 in March 2017.

  6. The labour market outlook remains uneven across sectors. Hiring expectations remain cautious in sectors such as Construction and Marine, while sectors such as Finance & Insurance, Information & Communications, Healthcare and certain segments of Manufacturing should continue to support job growth.
  7. With continued cyclical weakness in some sectors and ongoing business restructuring, redundancies and the unemployment rate may remain elevated. Displaced workers and jobseekers are encouraged to make full use of the available Adapt and Grow programmes offered by WSG and NTUC-e2i to find jobs or reskill for new careers. Individuals who need assistance can also visit any of the five career centres for career guidance and coaching, at

    For More Information
  8. The “Labour Market Report, First Quarter 2017” is released by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower. The report and technical note on the various indicators are available at


  1. Revised upwards from preliminary estimates of -8,500 reported in the Labour Market Advance Release (LMAR) 1Q 2017.
  2. Revised downwards from preliminary estimates of 4,800 reported in the LMAR 1Q 2017.
  3. The re-entry rate is based on a fixed job search duration of 6 months for residents made redundant in 3Q 2016.