Skip to main content

Labour Market Report Advance Release 3Q 2017


  1. In the advance release of the Labour Market report for 3Q 2017 by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, preliminary data show that the labour market held steady from 2Q 2017. The citizen unemployment rate improved slightly while the resident unemployment rate was unchanged. Retrenchments were similar in number to 2Q 2017, and have remained lower than last year since 1Q 2017. Total employment declined, largely reflecting a continued decrease in Work Permit Holders in Construction and Marine.

    Main Findings

    The overall and citizen unemployment rates declined, while the resident unemployment rate remained unchanged
  2. Preliminary estimates showed that quarter-on-quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined slightly overall (2.2% in June to 2.1% in September) and for citizens (3.3% in June to 3.2% in September), while it remained unchanged for residents (3.1%). Compared with a year ago, the overall unemployment rate was the same while the resident and citizen unemployment rates remained higher.

    Decline in total employment has been easing, due mainly to continued job growth in services
  3. The decline in total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers) has been easing since the beginning of the year. It contracted by a smaller extent  (-2,500) in the third quarter of 2017, compared to the previous two quarters (1Q 2017: -9,400, 2Q 2017: -7,900) and the same quarter a year ago (3Q 2016: -4,200). The decline in the third quarter of 2017 was mainly due to a decrease in Work Permit Holders in Marine and Construction, a result of low oil prices and continued weakness in construction activities respectively. However, this was partly offset by the pickup in employment in Services including Professional Services, Information & Communications, Administrative & Support Services, Finance & Insurance and Accommodation.

    Retrenchments were unchanged over the quarter, and remained lower than a year ago
  4. Preliminary estimates showed that a similar number of workers were retrenched in the third quarter of 2017 (3,600) compared to the previous quarter (3,640), and this was less than a year ago (4,220). This is the third consecutive quarter where retrenchments remained lower than the corresponding quarter a year ago. Retrenchments edged down in Manufacturing, and remained similar in Construction and Services compared with the previous quarter.

  5. Labour demand is expected to pick up in 4Q 2017, in line with seasonal hiring as seen in previous years. Hiring remains cautious in sectors such as Construction and Marine, while job opportunities continue to be available in other sectors, particularly Infocomms & Media, Finance & Insurance, Healthcare, Professional Services, and Wholesale Trade.
  6. As the resident unemployment rate could remain elevated in the medium term due to on-going economic restructuring, shift in composition of resident labour force and job-skills mismatch, MOM and tripartite partners will continue to support jobseekers and at-risk workers. In the first half of 2017, more than 10,000 individuals were placed under the Adapt and Grow Initiative. Of these, more than 1,500 have undergone skills conversion through Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs), more than double the 600 in the first half of last year. Together with the tripartite partners, MOM and Workforce Singapore will press on with efforts to help jobseekers and affected workers reskill and seek new employment opportunities. Companies undergoing restructuring are also urged to prepare at-risk workers for new roles in the firm, so as to reduce the need for retrenchments. SMEs are also encouraged to tap on available support under the Lean Enterprise Development scheme to transform and grow, and improve the quality of jobs created.

    For More Information
  7. The report is available at