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Labour Market Report Advance Release Second Quarter 2018


  1. Preliminary data in 2Q 2018 showed that total employment grew even as unemployment rates edged upwards. This occurred as more persons entered the labour force to look for work on the back of continued expansion in economic activities. Retrenchments in 2Q 2018 were lower than the same period a year ago, but higher than the previous quarter.

    Main Findings

    Total employment in 2Q 2018 grew faster than the previous quarter
  2. Total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers) increased by 7,100 in 2Q 2018. This was a larger increase than in 1Q 2018 (400), reflecting the moderated pace of contractions in Construction and Manufacturing employment. The increase in 2Q 2018 was also a reversal from the contraction observed in the same period a year ago (-7,900). The Services sector continued to add workers, such as in Transportation & Storage, Information & Communications, Community, Social & Personal Services, Professional Services and Financial & Insurance.

    Unemployment rates rose as more entered the labour force to look for work
  3. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates increased at the overall level (from 2.0% in March 2018 to 2.1% in June 2018), for residents (from 2.8% to 3.0%) and for citizens (from 3.0% to 3.1%), after a general downtrend since June 2017. The rates in June 2018 remained lower than in June 2017.

    Retrenchments edged up from the first quarter of 2018
  4. The number of retrenchments in 2Q 2018 (2,500) edged up from the preceding quarter (2,320), reflecting on-going restructuring and reorganisation. This occurred after a downtrend since the fourth quarter of 2016. The number of workers retrenched in 2Q 2018 was lower than the same period a year ago (3,640). Retrenchments declined over the quarter in Services, remained largely unchanged in Construction and increased in Manufacturing.

  5. Overall, the labour market continued to expand with net growth in total employment, while unemployment and retrenchments in 2Q 2018 remained lower compared to the same period a year ago. However, the unemployment rate increased compared to March 2018, which saw the lowest unemployment rate since March 2017. Retrenchments may also rise as restructuring and reorganisation gather pace.
  6. It will be increasingly important for workers and businesses to stay agile and responsive to emerging technological trends, economic restructuring and the evolving workforce landscape. MOM and Workforce Singapore remain focussed on helping jobseekers secure better employment outcomes through the Adapt and Grow initiative, and businesses to transform and grow through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme and the Capability Transfer Programme.

    For More Information
  7. The report is available online on the Ministry of Manpower’s statistics website at