Skip to main content

Labour Market Report 3Q2018

Introduction

  1. The labour market showed further signs of improvement in 3Q 2018. Total employment grew at a faster pace and retrenchments were lower. Resident and citizen unemployment rates held steady over the quarter, and the resident long-term unemployment rate declined. However, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped, suggesting some easing in the tightening of the labour market. Nonetheless, there continues to be more vacancies than job seekers for the third consecutive quarter.

    Main Findings

    Total employment growth more than doubled
  2. Total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW)) grew by 16,7001 in 3Q 2018, compared with growth of 6,500 in the previous quarter. Employment growth occurred mainly in sectors such as Community, Social & Personal Services, Financial & Insurance Services, Information & Communications and Professional Services.

    Resident and citizen unemployment rates held steady, and the resident long-term unemployment rate declined
  3. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates among residents (2.9%) and citizens (3.0%) held steady from June 2018 to September 2018, while the overall rate rose slightly (from 2.0% to 2.1%). All rates remained at or below those in September 2017. However, they were slightly higher than the two-year lows observed in March 2018, reflecting a continued inflow of job seekers into the labour market. The seasonally adjusted resident long-term unemployment rate declined from 0.7% in June 2018 to 0.6% in September 2018. This suggested that workers are better able to secure employment as economic conditions improved.

    Lower number of retrenchments
  4. Fewer workers were retrenched in 3Q 2018 (2,8602)compared to the previous quarter (3,030) and a year ago (3,400). The total number of retrenchments in the first nine months of 2018 (8,220) was lower than the same period last year (11,040). Business restructuring and reorganisation remained the top reason for retrenchment in the first nine months of 2018.

    Re-entry rate among retrenched residents declined
  5. The six-month re-entry rate into employment of retrenched residents declined in 3Q 2018 (from 64% to 62%) and was similar to 1Q 2018 (61%). The decline came from those previously employed in clerical and production & related jobs.

    The tightening of the labour market has eased, as the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped
  6. The ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped from 1.10 in June 2018 to 1.05 in September 2018. Nonetheless, there continues to be more vacancies than job seekers for the third consecutive quarter.

    Conclusion
  7. The labour market showed further signs of improvement in 3Q 2018. Total employment growth more than doubled this quarter while resident unemployment rate and retrenchments remained lower than in the same period a year ago. >However, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped, suggesting some easing in the tightening of the labour market.
  8. Going forward, hiring momentum may moderate against a backdrop of external trade tensions and slowing growth in Singapore’s key final demand markets. Job opportunities continue to be available in sectors such as Information & Communications, Financial & Insurance Services, Healthcare, Professional Services, Wholesale Trade, and Built Environment
  9. Given the ongoing economic restructuring and the corresponding challenge of jobs-skills mismatch, it is important that workers and businesses stay agile and responsive to market demands.  MOM and Workforce Singapore (WSG) will continue to work closely with tripartite partners to support and match Singaporeans to good jobs and careers through the Adapt and Grow initiative.  WSG will also continue to work with partner agencies to improve job search outcomes, by providing more information on skills and jobs on the MyCareersFuture.sg job search portal. Jobseekers can also tap on the Career Matching Services available at WSG’s Careers Connect. Businesses are also encouraged to transform and improve job quality, with support available through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme and the Capability Transfer Programme.

    For More Information
  10. The “Labour Market Report, Third Quarter 2018” is released by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower. The report and technical notes on the various indicators are available at https://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Home.aspx.

FOOTNOTE

  1. Revised upwards from preliminary estimates of 15,200 reported in the Labour Market Advance Release 3Q 2018.
  2. Revised upwards from the preliminary estimate of 2,500.
Last Updated: 31 December 2018