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Labour Market Advance Release Second Quarter 2021


1. Advance estimates showed that resident employment expanded in 2Q 2021, albeit at a slower pace due to the impact of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures from 16 May to 13 June 2021 on domestically-oriented sectors.Unemployment rates eased further in June 2021, though they were not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.While the number of retrenchments increased slightly, the incidence of retrenchment remained comparable to levels observed pre-pandemic.Non-resident employment continued to decline amidst on-going border restrictions, and offset the expansion in resident employment.As a result, total employment contracted in 2Q 2021.

Main Findings1

Modest increase in resident employment in 2Q 2021 outweighed by continued decline in non-resident employment

2. Resident employment continued to grow in 2Q 2021, but at a slower pace.  As this modest increase was outpaced by the continued decline in non-resident employment, total employment (excl. Migrant Domestic Workers or MDWs) fell in 2Q 2021 (-15,700).

3. The slower resident employment growth in 2Q 2021 was attributed to declines in domestically-oriented sectors more directly impacted by the tighter safe management measures, such as Food & Beverages Services and Retail Trade.On the other hand, resident employment continued to grow steadily in outward-oriented sectors such as Information & Communications and Professional Services, as well as in Community, Social & Personal Services.2 Non-resident employment declined more sharply across most sectors, as departing workers were not replaced due to border restrictions imposed for public health reasons.

Unemployment rates declined steadily in June 2021

4. Unemployment rates continued to decline, by 0.1%-point in June 2021 for overall (from 2.8% to 2.7%) and residents (from 3.8% to 3.7%).Citizen unemployment rate fell by 0.2%-point, from 4.0% in May 2021 to 3.8% in June 2021.Since peaking in September 2020, unemployment rates had been falling steadily, though they remained elevated compared to pre-pandemic rates.

Retrenchments rose slightly but incidence stayed within levels observed pre-pandemic

5. Retrenchments increased slightly (2,500) from the previous quarter (2,270).Companies cited re-organisation/restructuring, or business downturn within their industry, as common reasons for the layoffs.We have not observed any notable increases in retrenchments in sectors directly impacted by the tighter restrictions such as Food & Beverages Services.We expect the incidence of retrenchment in 2Q 2021 (1.3 retrenched per 1,000 employees) to be similar to that of 1Q 2021 (1.2).This is comparable to the levels observed in 2018 and 2019.


6. Expectedly, the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from 16 May to 13 June had some impact on the labour market, in particular on resident employment within domestically-oriented sectors most directly affected by the measures.In addition, restrictions on the inflow of migrant workers due to public health considerations and the rise in Delta variant cases globally continue to temporarily constrain non-resident employment growth.

7. However, resident employment and unemployment rate had continued to improve overall as outward-oriented sectors and the healthcare sector maintained their growth trajectories. Through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, the Government and tripartite partners will continue to support local jobseekers who are keen to pivot to new opportunities:

  1. The Jobs Growth Incentive was extended to end-September 2021 to support local hiring.As at February 2021, the JGI has supported more than 270,000 new local hires by 42,000 employers.
  2. Employers can tap on career conversion programmes to reskill new local hires who may not have the full set of skills but can be trained.Support is available for up to 90% of training and salary costs.
  3. The SGUnited Traineeships and Mid-Career Pathways programmes also remain available for employers that are at present unable to hire new workers but have the intention to do so later.Jobseekers who have not yet found a job can make use of these programmes to acquire industry-relevant skills and experience and put themselves in a stronger position to seize new opportunities.

8. Jobseekers who need assistance can approach Workforce Singapore and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute, including through any of the 24 SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres in HDB estates.Jobseekers can also tap on the MyCareersFuture portal, which enables more efficient and effective search based on jobs that best suit their skillsets.

9. For businesses more impacted by the tighter safe management measures, we encourage employers to make use of the downtime to redesign jobs and reskill their employees to take on new job roles.Employers can tap on programmes such as the Support for Job Redesign under the Productivity Solutions Grant.Funding support is raised to 80% of qualifying costs, capped at $30,000 per enterprise, till end-March 2022.



10. The Labour Market Report 2Q 2021, to be released in mid-September 2021, will provide more details, such as resident and non-resident employment, sectoral breakdowns, number of job vacancies, labour turnover, and re-entry rates among retrenched residents.This will give us a fuller picture of the labour market situation in 2Q 2021.

For More Information

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

12. For data requests and queries pertaining to the report, please reach out to the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department at




  1. 2Q 2021 data are preliminary.
  2. Mainly in Health & Social Work.