Labour Market Report in 2Q 2023
1. The labour market continued to grow in the first half of 2023, although there were signs of cooling labour demand. In 2Q 2023, total employment expanded by 24,300 compared to 33,000 in 1Q 2023. Following the decline in the number of job vacancies, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons also dipped significantly for the second consecutive quarter to 1.94, from 2.28 in March 2023. With the labour market remaining relatively tight, resident unemployment and long-term unemployment rates have stayed low. Retrenchments have also declined in the last quarter.
2. Given the weak external environment and economic growth for the rest of the year, labour demand could ease further and be uneven across industries. The government and tripartite partners will continue to support employers and workers to press on with business transformation and upskilling.
REVIEW OF THE LABOUR MARKET IN 2Q 20231
Total employment grew at a moderated pace
3. Total employment continued to expand for the seventh consecutive quarter in 2Q 2023 (24,300), but at a slower pace compared to 1Q 2023 (33,000). The increases in 2Q 2023 were from non-residents (25,500) as resident employment contracted (-1,200).
4. The increase in non-resident employment was mainly from Construction. Resident employment growth contracted as robust increases in sectors such as Community, Social & Personal Services and Financial & Insurance Services were offset by contractions in Food & Beverage Services and Retail Trade due to outflow from the cessation of seasonal hiring.
Unemployment rates remained low
5. The unemployment rates remained low in June 2023 (overall: 1.9%, resident: 2.7%, citizen: 2.8%). The resident long-term unemployment rate also remained low at 0.5% in June 2023.
Retrenchments declined in 2Q 2023
6. After rising for three quarters, retrenchments declined from 3,820 in 1Q 2023 to 3,200 in 2Q 2023. Overall, reorganisation or restructuring (69.9%) was the main reason for retrenchments. Retrenchments were driven by Information & Communications, mainly due to reorganisation or restructuring and concerns of high costs within the sector. Nonetheless, the likelihood of residents retrenched from Information & Communications finding new jobs remained high (69.2%) compared to their counterparts from other industries.
Job vacancies declined
7. Labour demand continued to cool. The number of job vacancies declined for the fifth consecutive quarter to 87,900 in June 2023, from the peak of 126,000 in March 2022. Growth sectors including Professional Services, Information & Communications and Financial Services made up more than one-fifth of the overall available job vacancies in June 2023.
8. Following the easing in the number of job vacancies, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons also dipped significantly for the second consecutive quarter to 1.94.
LABOUR MARKET OUTLOOK
9. In August 2023, MTI narrowed the 2023 GDP growth forecast range to 0.5% to 1.5%, from 0.5% to 2.5%, as Singapore’s external demand outlook for the rest of the year remains weak. At the same time, downside risks in the global economy remain. These include more persistent-than-expected inflation in the advanced economies, which could induce tighter global financial conditions, as well as the risk of escalations in the war in Ukraine and geopolitical tensions among major global powers.
10. The growth prospects for the various sectors of the Singapore economy remain uneven for the rest of the year. In particular, the outlook for outward-oriented sectors like Manufacturing and Finance & Insurance remains weak given the continued weakness in the external economic environment. On the other hand, the outlook for aviation- and tourism-related sectors like Air Transport and Accommodation, as well as consumer-facing sectors like Retail Trade and Food & Beverage Services, remains positive due in large part to the ongoing recovery in international air travel and inbound tourism.
11. To remain competitive and resilient amidst economic uncertainty, the government encourages employers and workers to be proactive in making full use of Government programmes to adapt to the changing environment. We encourage employers to press on with business transformation, to ensure that their businesses continue to be competitive, and their workers productive. We remain committed to supporting our workers to find good jobs despite the economic uncertainty ahead.
a. Employers can refer to the Jobs Transformation Maps (JTMs) to understand how their businesses and job demands may change in response to sectoral trends. A total of 16 JTMs are available on Workforce Singapore's (WSG’s) website2, and three more will be progressively completed. The JTMs identify the key technologies that are driving change, and their impact on individual job roles. With this information, employers and workers can pre-emptively redesign jobs and acquire the necessary skills for jobs of the future.
b. Employers can also tap on the Support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant, to make their jobs more productive and attractive to jobseekers.
c. WSG offers Career Conversion Programmes to support employers in re-skilling their existing employees to take on enhanced job roles and training mid-career workers to take on new roles, with employers receiving up to 90% salary and course fee subsidy.
d. In addition, the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme provides attachment opportunities to mature workers, allowing them to widen their professional networks and gain industry-relevant skills and experience while receiving a training allowance of up to $3,800 per month.
12. Jobseekers who require assistance can approach WSG and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute, or any of the SGUnited Jobs & Skills Centres across the country.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
13. The “Labour Market Report 2Q 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 http://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Home.aspx.