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Labour Market Advance Release - Third Quarter 2022


1. Advance estimates show continued improvement in the labour market in 3Q 2022, but there are some early indications of easing in the momentum of improvement amidst slower economic growth. Total employment continued to expand robustly, surpassing its pre-pandemic level1 by 1.7% in September 2022. While there was a slight uptick in unemployment rates and an increase in retrenchments over the quarter, both indicators remained on par with pre-COVID levels.

Main Findings2

Total employment expanded, with increases among both residents and non-residents

2. Total employment (excluding Migrant Domestic Workers) expanded by 75,600 in 3Q 2022, continuing the strong growth observed in the previous quarter. Non-residents accounted for the majority of the expansion, as non-resident employment continued its rebound towards its pre-COVID level. The increase in non-resident employment was mainly in Construction and Manufacturing, sectors with a higher share of non-resident workers.

3. Similar to past quarters, more residents found employment, though the pace of increase eased compared to the last quarter. Resident employment increases were mainly in outward-oriented sectors such as Information & Communications, Professional Services, and Financial Services.

Unemployment rates rose slightly, but remained within pre-COVID levels3

4. After trending down to a 6-year low in August 20224, unemployment rates edged up slightly in September 2022 to 2.0% overall, 2.9% for residents, and 3.1% for citizens. However, the rates remained within the pre-COVID range.

Retrenchments increased, but remained a step down from pre-COVID levels5

5. The number of retrenchments increased to 1,600 in 3Q 2022, from the previous quarter’s all-time low of 830.6 The retrenchments were from Manufacturing, mainly due to discontinuation of product lines, as well as Services, mainly due to business reorganisation or restructuring.


6. The nation’s transition to living with COVID-19, along with the progressive removal of safe management measures and border restrictions, has supported the labour market’s recovery in recent quarters, though there are signs of a slowing momentum in 3Q 2022.

7. In the coming months, a deteriorating global economic environment, higher global inflation, as well as geopolitical tensions, will impact the labour market. While forward-looking data shows that overall hiring sentiments among firms remain optimistic, there could be some unevenness in growth across sectors in the final quarter of 2022. Demand in tourism- and consumer-related sectors is expected to remain robust, supported by the recovery of international visitor arrivals and year-end festive hiring. In contrast, trade-reliant sectors such as Manufacturing could experience more subdued employment growth as external demand weakens. Non-resident employment is expected to continue to recover, as employers backfill their vacancies.

8. The proportion of firms which intend to raise wages in the next three months held steady, suggesting that firms remain prudent about raising wages. The risk of a wage-price spiral hence remains low for now. For wage growth to be sustainable, wages should rise in tandem only with improvements in workers’ productivity and skills.

9. We encourage employers and workers to make full use of Government programmes to adapt to the changing economic environment and accelerate the pace of transformation. In turn, this will enable us to develop our workers and build a more competitive and resilient workforce.

  1. The Jobs Growth Incentive provides salary support to employers to encourage them to hire mature workers not in work for at least six months, persons with disabilities, and ex-offenders. Until March 2023, for each new eligible hire, qualifying employers stand to receive up to 20% of the first $6000 of gross monthly wages, for a period of 6 months.
  2. The SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme offers attachment opportunities for mid-career jobseekers, with allowances of up to $3800 per month. This allows employers to better assess the job-fit of mature jobseekers, while providing mature jobseekers an opportunity to undergo training and widen their professional networks.
  3. Employers can tap on the Support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR), to make their jobs more productive and attractive to jobseekers. Workforce Singapore (WSG) also offers Job Redesign Reskilling Programmes to support employers in upskilling existing employees to take on enhanced job roles.
  4. Jobseekers who require career matching services can approach WSG and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute, including through any of the 24 SGUnited Jobs & Skills Centres across the country.

10. The Labour Market Report 3Q 2022, due for release in mid-December 2022, will provide a fuller assessment and more details – including the breakdown of resident and non-resident employment7, sectoral breakdowns, number of job vacancies, labour turnover, and re-entry rates among retrenched residents.

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. This refers to December 2019.
  2. 3Q 2022 data are preliminary.
  3. In the pre-COVID quarters of 2018 / 2019, the average unemployment rates were 2.2% at the overall, 3.0% for residents, and 3.2% for citizens.
  4. In August 2022, unemployment rates were 1.9% at the overall, 2.7% for residents, and 2.8% for citizens.
  5. Quarterly average of 2,680 in 2018 / 2019.
  6. Revisions have been made to the 2Q 2022 retrenchment figures, following clarifications with survey respondents.
  7. As per MOM’s usual practice, we will not publish resident and non-resident quarterly employment change figures in the Labour Market Advance Release, since these numbers are only preliminary.