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Labour Market Report - First Quarter 2023


1. The labour market continued to grow in 1Q 2023. Total employment expanded for the sixth consecutive quarter by 33,000, with increases in resident (2,800) and non-resident employment (30,200)1. This brought total employment to 3.8% above its pre-pandemic level2. Although retrenchments (3,820) rose in outward oriented sectors such as Electronics Manufacturing, Information & Communications and Financial Services, the majority (71.7%) of the retrenched residents were able to find employment within six months after retrenchment. Unemployment rates remained low (overall: 1.8%, resident: 2.6%, citizen: 2.7%).

2. While the labour market remains tight, there are some signs of cooling labour demand. Employment growth has moderated compared to the previous quarter (4Q’22: 43,500; 1Q’23: 33,000). The number of job vacancies (99,600) and the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons (2.28) remained high but have both eased.

Main Findings

Total employment grew at a moderated pace

3. Total employment (excluding Migrant Domestic Workers) expanded by 33,000 in 1Q 2023, a smaller increase compared to the previous quarter (43,500). The moderation was observed for residents (4Q’22: 8,400; 1Q’23: 2,800) and non-residents (4Q’22: 35,100; 1Q’23: 30,200). By March 2023, total employment was at 3.8% above the pre-pandemic level3. While resident employment had earlier surpassed its pre-pandemic level, non-resident employment exceeded its pre-pandemic level for the first time and reached 1.7% above its pre-pandemic level as of March 2023.

4. In 1Q 2023, resident employment grew robustly in Financial Services, Public Administration & Education, Professional Services and Health & Social Services. However, it declined in Retail Trade and Food & Beverage Services as seasonal hiring for festivities ended. Non-resident employment growth was mainly in Construction and Manufacturing.

The rise in retrenchments was not broad-based across industries

5. Retrenchments continued to increase to 3,820 in 1Q 2023 from 2,990 in 4Q 2022. However, the number remained below the peak in 2020. The increase in retrenchments in 1Q 2023 was mainly driven by Electronics Manufacturing (670 to 1,190), Information & Communications (370 to 560) and Financial Services (260 to 540). Retrenchments in other sectors have remained stable. Reorganisation or restructuring (47.7%) was the main reason for retrenchments, while 19.4% were due to recession or downturn.

6. Among retrenched residents, majority (71.7%) of those retrenched in 3Q 2022 were able to find new jobs by 1Q 2023. The rate of re-entry has fared well compared to the pre-pandemic level of 65.9% (4Q 2019).

Unemployment rates remained low

7. Unemployment rates (overall: 1.8%, resident: 2.6%, citizen: 2.7%) and resident long-term unemployment rate (0.6%) remained low in March 2023.

Job vacancies declined but remained elevated

8. Labour market tightness eased as job vacancies declined for the fourth consecutive quarter to 99,600 in March 2023. The ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons remained high at 2.28, but also declined from December 2022 (2.33).

9. The vacancies in March 2023 were spread across different industries, particularly in the growth industries such as Information & Communications (8,100), Health & Social Services (7,800), Professional Services (7,700) and Financial Services (6,300).


10. To remain competitive and resilient amidst a backdrop of a global economic slowdown and a more uncertain business environment, we encourage employers and workers to press on with business and workforce transformation and make full use of Government programmes to adapt to the changing environment.

a. Employers can refer to the Jobs Transformation Maps (JTMs) to prepare their businesses and workers for future jobs and skills in their sectors. These JTMs identify the key technologies that are driving change, the impact on individual job roles, as well as the pathways for employers to transform jobs and equip workers with requisite skills for new and evolving job roles. 15 JTMs are available on Workforce Singapore's (WSG’s) website and four more will be progressively completed.

b. Employers can also utilise WSG’s Career Conversion Programmes to hire and train mid-career workers for new roles, allowing employers to better assess the job fit for mature jobseekers, while providing them with training and industry experience. Furthermore, the enhanced Enabling Employment Credit and new Uplifting Employment Credit provide wage offsets to employers who hire persons with disabilities and ex-offenders respectively.

11. 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.

For More Information

12. The “Labour Market Report, First Quarter 2023” 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. The employment data excludes migrant domestic workers.
  2. Refers to December 2019.
  3. Resident employment surpassed its pre-pandemic level by December 2020. In March 2023, resident employment was 4.9% higher than its pre-pandemic level.