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1. The labour market continued to expand in 1Q 2024. Following the cooling labour demand in 2023, the number of job vacancies rose in March 2024 (81,900) from December 2023 (79,800). This reflects the improved economic prospects over the course of 2024.

2. Due to the increase in job vacancies but a slight elevation of the number of unemployed persons, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons was 1.56 in March 2024. This ratio indicates that the labour market remained tight, although the ratio has decreased consistently since its high of 2.54 in June 2022. Amidst labour market tightness, total employment growth in 1Q 2024 was due solely to resident employment growth.

3. The number of retrenchments continued to decline in 1Q 2024 (4Q 2023: 3,460; 1Q 2024: 3,030) due to declines in the number of retrenchments from outward-oriented sectors such as Wholesale Trade and Electronics Manufacturing. Similarly, the incidence of retrenchment in 1Q 2024 (1.3 per 1,000 employees) has continued to decline since 3Q 2023 (1.9 per 1,000 employees) and was lower than pre-pandemic levels (quarterly average for 2015 to 2019: 1.7 per 1,000 employees). More firms continued to cite business reorganisation or restructuring in 1Q 2024 (4Q 2023: 59.0%; 1Q 2024: 72.0%) as the reason for retrenchment. Nearly six in ten (59.4%) retrenched workers were able to re-enter employment six months post-retrenchment, although the re-entry rate has dipped slightly compared to the previous quarter (61.5%). Nevertheless, the resident long-term unemployment rate remained low at 0.8% in March 2024.

4. With an improved economic outlook for 2024, sustained increase in the number of job vacancies, increased hiring optimism among firms over the next quarter1, as well as declining retrenchment numbers, we expect the labour market to continue expanding and unemployment rates to remain low. The Government and tripartite partners will continue to encourage and support employers and workers to press on with business transformation and upskilling to improve job quality.


Total employment continued to grow at a moderate pace, driven solely by residents

5. Total employment grew by 4,700 in 1Q 2024, contributed solely by an increase in resident employment (5,500).3

6. The increase in resident employment was driven by Financial and Insurance Services and Public Administration.

7. Non-residents, on the other hand, experienced negative employment change (-800) for the first quarter since 3Q 2021 (-21,500). The decline was mainly in the Construction and Manufacturing sectors, as the lower Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) for the Construction and Process sectors came into effect.

8. S Pass holders saw negative growth in 1Q 2024, following the 2023 increase in S Pass qualifying salaries and levies4. The number of WP+5 holders rose, although this has slowed significantly from the previous quarter.

EP holders also saw negative growth, registering its first decline since late 2021. The declines in EP holders were in sectors such as Information and Communications and Professional Services, which continued to face global headwinds. However, the number of EP holders grew in other sectors such as Wholesale Trade and Transportation and Storage. Overall EP applications have picked up in tandem with the improving economic outlook.

Unemployment and long-term unemployment rates remained low

9. Unemployment rates inched up in March 2024 (overall: 2.1%; resident: 3.0%; citizen: 3.1%) compared to the previous months but remained within the range observed during non-recessionary periods. The resident long-term unemployment rate also remained low at 0.8% in March 2024. Continued increases in unemployment rates are not expected as retrenchments continued to ease, and resident employment growth has been positive in 1Q 2024.

Retrenchments continued to decline in 1Q 2024

10. The number of retrenchments continued to decline in 1Q 2024 (1Q 2024: 3,030; 4Q 2023: 3,460), due to declines in the number of retrenchments from outward-oriented sectors such as Wholesale Trade and Electronics Manufacturing. Along with the decline in number of retrenchments, the incidence of retrenchments also continued to fall from 1.5 per 1,000 employees in 4Q 2023 to 1.3 per 1,000 employees in 1Q 2024. Firms continued to cite business reorganisation or restructuring as the most common reason for retrenchment.

Most retrenched residents were able to secure jobs within 6 months post-retrenchment

11. The majority of retrenched residents were able to re-enter employment within 6 months post-retrenchment, although the rate of re-entry has dipped slightly from 61.5% in 4Q 2023 to 59.4% in 1Q 2024.

The decline in re-entry rate was observed in Information and Communications, Financial and Insurance Services and Professional Services, but more than half of those retrenched in these sectors were able to find new jobs within 6 months post-retrenchment.

The number of job vacancies continue to increase moderately in March 2024

12. The number of job vacancies continued to rise in March 2024 (81,900) from December 2023 (79,800). With the increase in the number of unemployed persons, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons declined from 1.74 in December 2023 to 1.56 in March 2024.


13. While Singapore’s economy is expected to improve in 2024, downside risks in the global economy remain. The Ministry of Manpower will work hand-in-hand with Singaporeans to sustain economic competitiveness and help workers take on better jobs.

14. With slowing resident workforce growth and low resident unemployment rates, continued growth in resident employment is likely to become more muted. MOM, together with economic agencies, will help our businesses to press on with transformation to become more manpower-lean and productive, generating better jobs for Singaporeans in the workforce and resources for national development. At the same time, Singaporean workers too must continue to upskill and embrace new opportunities.

15. To achieve economic growth and better jobs, Singapore will need to keep attracting highly-skilled foreign workers that complement our resident workforce and together help our businesses to compete and succeed:

i. In January 2023, we introduced a new Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass to better attract top talent, and cement Singapore’s position as a global talent hub.
ii. In 2022, we announced that we will peg the minimum cost of hiring for S Pass holders to the top one-third of local Associate Professionals and Technicians (APT), through a three-step increase in the S Pass Qualifying Salary and levy from 2022 – 2025. This will uplift the quality of our S Pass holders, and ensure they are hired to fill skills gaps and prevent cheap sourcing.

16. We will empower employers and workers to press on with business and workforce transformation:

i. Employers can make use of the Jobs Transformation Maps (JTMs) to understand how their businesses and job demands may change in response to sectoral trends, as well as how to redesign jobs and reskill workers for new jobs. A total of 17 JTMs have been completed, and the Government will progressively launch 3 more in new growth areas such as Generative AI.
ii. The Government and tripartite partners will support companies to transform and redesign jobs. Employers can tap on the Support for Job Redesign under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR) and NTUC Company Training Committee (CTC) Grant.
iii. The Government will support companies to upskill and reskill their workers for new roles. Employers can tap on Workforce Singapore (WSG)’s Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs) which provide up to 90% salary support to employers to train new hires or existing workers for new or enhanced job roles. Since 1 April 2024, the salary support caps for CCPs have been increased to $7,500 for mature or long-term unemployed workers and $5,000 for workers.
Employers can receive up to $45,000 for each CCP trainee for a typical six-month programme. In addition, the eligibility criteria have been expanded beyond employees in at-risk roles to cover all employees who are being reskilled to take on growth jobs.

17. We will also empower workers to strengthen their career health to seize new opportunities. To take advantage of programmes like the CCPs, workers will need to be better equipped to make informed training and career decisions and longer-term career plans. Jobseekers can make use of the CareersFinder feature on WSG’s MyCareersFuture job portal, which harnesses data and artificial intelligence to explore career options that make the best use of their skills and experience, and pathways to reach their career goals.

18. Jobseekers who require additional assistance in their job search can tap on career matching services offered by WSG and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).


19. The “Labour Market Report 1Q 2024” 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. MOM’s forward-looking polls indicated continued improvements in employment, as the proportion of firms which cited an intention to hire in the next three months rose from 47.7% in December 2023 to 50.6% in March 2024.
  2. Source: Labour Market Report 1Q 2024, Manpower Research & Statistics Department, MOM.
  3. Employment data in this press statement excludes migrant domestic workers.
  4. From 1 September 2023, the minimum qualifying criteria for S Pass holders (for all sectors except for Financial Services) is $3,000 for renewals and $3,150 for new applications.
  5. Refers to Work Permit and Other Work Passes.