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Labour Market Report Advance Release Third Quarter 2019


1 Preliminary data for the third quarter of 2019 painted a mixed picture. Growth of total employment was higher than the previous quarter and a year ago. The number of retrenchments rose over the quarter, but remained comparable to last year. Unemployment rates inched up over the quarter.

Main Findings

Total employment growth in the third quarter of 2019 was higher than in the previous quarter and a year ago

2 Total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers) grew by 22,400 in the third quarter of 2019, higher than in the previous quarter (6,200) and a year ago (16,700).

3 Employment growth was broad-based across the main industries. Employment in Construction continued to grow by 5,300 due to increasing private and public sector construction activities[1].Growth in Services (16,100) was also higher than in the same period a year ago (13,800), led by Community, Social & Personal Services, Professional Services, and Information & Communications, while sectors such as Wholesale & Retail Trade registered smaller declines compared to the previous quarter. Employment in Manufacturing also increased (1,200)[2] after three consecutive quarters of declines, though the growth was lower compared to a year ago (3,500).

Retrenchments rose over the quarter, but remained comparable to a year ago

4 Retrenchments in the third quarter of 2019 (2,900) were higher than in the preceding quarter (2,320), but remained comparable to a year ago (2,860).Retrenchments rose in manufacturing, construction and services over the quarter.

Unemployment rates inched up

5 The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates inched up over the quarter in September 2019.This was seen at the overall (from 2.2% to 2.3%), as well as among residents (from 3.1% to 3.2%) and citizens (from 3.2% to 3.3%).


6 Employment continued to grow and there were still job vacancies available[3]. However, unemployment rates edged up. This points to possible mismatches in the labour market.

7 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 (A&G) initiative. From January to August 2019, about 22,000 jobseekers found jobs through the A&G initiative, of whom close to 12,000 were aged 40 and above.

8 We urge employers to work with the government to train workers with skills gaps.We also encourage jobseekers to be open to opportunities in other sectors and occupations beyond what they are familiar with. Employers and jobseekers can tap on A&G programmes for employment support. For example, the Career Support Programme (CSP) provides salary support for employers who hire long-term unemployed jobseekers or mature retrenched jobseekers in PMET jobs.Jobseekers who wish to re-skill for new job opportunities can also explore the over 100 Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) in more than 30 sectors, which come with training and salary support, and higher funding for those aged 40 and above.Jobseekers who may require more assistance can visit WSG’s Careers Connect and NTUC-Employment and Employability Institute’s (NTUC-e2i’s) career centres.

9 At the same time, the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation will continue to reach out to retrenched workers to provide them with timely employment support, and engage retrenching companies on responsible retrenchment practices.

For More Information

10 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, 14 October 2019.
  2. This comes amid output expansion in the chemicals, biomedical manufacturing and general manufacturing clusters. Source: MTI’s Advance Estimates of GDP, 14 October 2019.
  3. As of June 2019, there were 47,700 job vacancies – Labour Market Report Second Quarter 2019, Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower.