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Labour Market Advance Release 2Q 2019


  1. Based on preliminary data, total employment continued to grow, but at a slower pace compared to the last quarter and a year ago. However, retrenchments have not picked up and remained low. This suggests that most employers are not laying off existing workers, but exercising greater caution in hiring even when they have unfilled vacancies. As a result, resident and citizen unemployment rates continued to inch upwards.

    Main Findings

    Total employment growth in 2Q 2019 was lower than the previous quarter and a year ago
  2. Total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers) grew by 4,000 in 2Q 2019, lower than the previous quarter (10,700) and a year ago (6,500). Employment growth remained robust in sectors such as Information & Communications, Professional Services, Community, Social & Personal Services and Financial Services, although the increases were mostly offset by the decline in employment in Retail Trade. As a result, employment growth in Services slowed. Meanwhile, employment in Construction picked up. Employment in Manufacturing continued to contract for the third consecutive quarter, as output declined1.

    The number of retrenchments remained low
  3. Retrenchments in 2Q 2019 (2,300) were lower than in the preceding quarter (3,230) and a year ago (3,030). Over the quarter, declines were observed across all three broad sectors (Manufacturing, Construction and Services).

    Resident and citizen unemployment rates continued to inch upwards
  4. The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate was unchanged in June 2019 (2.2%). However, the unemployment rate rose over the quarter for residents (from 3.0% to 3.1%) and citizens (from 3.2% to 3.3%), continuing the uptrend since September 2018.


  5. MOM and Workforce Singapore (WSG), together with tripartite partners, are closely monitoring the labour market situation, and stand ready to step up support for Singaporeans under the Adapt and Grow initiative.
  6. In particular, the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation remains vigilant and is proactively reaching out to retrenched workers to provide them with timely employment support, including job matching.2 The Taskforce will also continue to engage retrenching companies on responsible retrenchment practices.
  7. We encourage employers to take up A&G programmes such as the Career Support Programme (CSP) and Career Trial (CT) to tap on a wider pool of jobseekers to meet their manpower needs. CSP provides salary support for employers who hire long-term unemployed jobseekers or mature retrenched jobseekers in PMET jobs. CT offers an opportunity for employers and jobseekers to try out each other and assess job fit, before making the hiring decision. During the trial, which can be up to three months, jobseekers receive a training allowance from WSG.
  8. To help jobseekers re-skill for new opportunities, WSG offers over 100 Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) in more than 30 sectors, with training and salary support provided. Jobseekers can also consider taking up Attach-and-Train PCPs, which train workers ahead of hiring demand, in selected sectors with strong growth potential. Jobseekers who need more assistance can visit WSG’s Careers Connect and NTUC-Employment and Employability Institute’s (NTUC-e2i’s) career centres.

    For More Information

  9. The report is available online on the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department website at



  1. Source: MTI’s Advance Estimates of GDP, 12 July 2019.
  2. The Taskforce is chaired by Mr Tan Choon Shian, Chief Executive of Workforce Singapore (WSG). The Taskforce also comprises representatives from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), WSG, National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).