Skip to main content

Labour Market Report 3Q 2020


  1. Non-residents made up almost nine in ten of the total employment contraction in the first three quarters of 2020. This is the key observation from the Labour Market Report 3Q 2020 released by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry of Manpower.
  2. Other findings in the Report affirmed the earlier assessment made in the Labour Market Advance Release that the labour market has showed signs of improvement in 3Q 2020.

    Main Findings
  3. Non-residents made up almost nine in ten (or -139,100)1 of the contraction in total employment between January to September 2020 (-158,700)2. This is because of a strong rebound in resident employment in 3Q 2020 (+43,200), which offset most of the declines we saw in the first two quarters of the year. The resident employment level in September 2020 (2.34 million) is now back to near pre COVID-19 levels.
  4. The rebound in resident employment reflected strong support measures for local employment, including the Jobs Support Scheme and programmes under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. Non-resident employment continued to decline in 3Q 2020 (-72,300), at a faster pace than the previous two quarters.
  5. Other indicators also point to a gradual pick up in the labour market activity:
    • Significantly fewer employees were placed on short workweek or temporary layoff in the 3Q 2020 (34,240) compared to 2Q 2020 (81,720).
    • Average paid hours worked rose from 43.4 hours per week in June 2020 to 43.8 hours in September 2020, reflecting higher overtime hours.
    • The number of job vacancies rose for the first time this year to 49,600 in September 2020, resulting in an improvement in our job vacancy to unemployed ratio, from 0.57 to 0.60 over the quarter.

  6. The uncertainty in the economic environment and weak demand conditions will weigh on the recovery of the labour market. COVID-19 has also accelerated the pace of business transformation and unlike in cyclical downturns, some jobs may not return. As such, labour market recovery may remain protracted beyond the immediate rebound.
  7. The National Jobs Council will stay focused on matching local jobseekers to the available openings, and helping them reskill for careers in new growth areas. With the support of the tripartite partners, nearly 60,000 locals have been placed into diverse jobs and skills opportunities as at end-October. These include jobs, company-hosted traineeships and attachments as well as training programmes that provide multiple pathways for jobseekers to enter into new careers or sectors by acquiring industry-relevant skills, networks and experience.
  8. The Government has also introduced the $1 billion Jobs Growth Incentive which provides up to 50% salary support for eligible new local hires from September 2020 to February 2021. We urge employers to continue tapping on Government support to hire and invest in the training of local workers. At the same time, we encourage jobseekers to keep an open mind to new opportunities, especially new careers that offer better long-term prospects as businesses and jobs continue to transform.
  9. To better help jobseekers access these jobs and skills opportunities, Workforce Singapore (WSG) has set up the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres in all HDB towns and deployed the mobile Careers Connect On-the-Go (CCOTG) to bring career coaching services closer to jobseekers. Jobseekers can also conduct job search, seek career advice and obtain career guidance services through WSG’s digital touchpoints, such as for additional resources such as career guides, newsletters and articles to help jobseekers in the job search process.

    For More Information
  10. The “Labour Market Report, Third Quarter 2020” is released by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower. The report and technical notes on the various indicators are available at


  1. Employment figures do not include foreign domestic workers.
  2. This was revised downwards from -156,400 reported in the Labour Market Advance Release (LMAR) Third Quarter 2020 released on 30 October 2020.