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Labour Market Advance Release - Third Quarter 2023


1. Advance estimates showed that the labour market expanded in 3Q 2023 despite the weaker economic outlook. Total employment (excluding Migrant Domestic Workers) grew for the eighth consecutive quarter, with increases for both residents and non-residents. Retrenchments and unemployment rose, but unemployment rates remained low. This suggests that most retrenched workers have been able to find new employment quickly.

Main Findings1   

Total employment growth came from both residents and non-residents

2. Total employment (excluding Migrant Domestic Workers) expanded for the eight consecutive quarter by 24,000 in 3Q 2023, which was comparable to the previous quarter. Employment growth came from both residents and non-residents.

3. Resident employment expanded in growth sectors such as Financial Services and Professional Services, which generally had higher-paying jobs, as well as in Health & Social Services.

4. Meanwhile, non-resident employment expanded in sectors such as Construction, Retail Trade, Food & Beverage Services and Administrative & Support Services.

Unemployment rates were broadly stable and low

5. Unemployment rates have been largely stable and remained low in September 2023 (overall: 2.0%; resident: 2.8%; and citizen: 3.0%), despite the slight rise in July.

Majority of the increase in retrenchments due to the Wholesale Trade sector

6. Retrenchments rose from 3,200 in 2Q 2023 to 4,100 in 3Q 2023, with the majority of this increase from Wholesale Trade. This reflects the weaker external outlook the sector faced. The number of retrenchments in other remaining sectors remained broadly stable or declined. Business reorganisation/ restructuring remained the top reason for retrenchments in 3Q 2023.


7. While the labour market continued to expand, the pace of employment growth has slowed compared to a year ago, amid the global economic slowdown. Business expectations worsened in September 2023. The proportion of firms which indicated an intention to hire in the next three months fell from 58.2% to 42.8%. Similarly, the proportion of firms with an intention to raise wages dropped as well, from 28.0% to 18.0%. While unemployment rates remained low due to continued labour market tightness, they have been on a slow uptrend, and may continue to rise further.

8. The Government encourages employers and workers to make full use of available programmes to remain competitive and resilient amidst economic uncertainty. We encourage employers to press on with business transformation, upskill and reskill their workers, and adapt to the changing environment. 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 by the end of FY2024. 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 their employees and jobseekers.

c. WSG offers Career Conversion Programmes to support employers in re-skilling their existing employees to take on redesigned job roles and training mid-career new hires to take on new roles, with employers receiving up to 90% salary and course fee subsidy.

d. WSG’s SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme provides attachment opportunities tailored for mature workers, allowing them to explore career switches and gain industry-relevant skills and experience while receiving a training allowance of up to $3,800 per month.

9. 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.

10. The Labour Market Report Third Quarter 2023, which will be released in mid-December 2023, will provide a comprehensive assessment and more details of the labour market situation in 3Q 2023. This will include the breakdown of resident and non-resident employment3, 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. 3Q 2023 data are preliminary.
  3. 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.