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MOM: Unemployment Remained Low Amid Concerns Over Slower Growth

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reported that unemployment in Singapore remained low amid concerns over slower economic growth in the third quarter of this year.

According to the key preliminary findings from the “Employment Situation, Third Quarter 2012″ report released by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department, employment creation moderated and layoffs rose after declining in the preceding two-quarters in Singapore. Unemployment remained low, reflecting strong manpower demand amid the tightening in foreign manpower controls.

Employment growth increased the previous quarter while it moderated in the third quarter of 2012. Preliminary estimates show that total employment grew by 24,900 in the third quarter of 2012, down from the increase of 31,900 in the same period last year and 31,700 in the second quarter of 2012.

The growth in employment slowed in services from 21,200 in the third quarter of 2011 to 11,300 in the third quarter of 2012. This also goes to the manufacturing industry, which decreased from 3,900 to 3,700. The construction industry continued to register strong employment increase of 9,800 in the third quarter of 2012, up from 6,700 in the same quarter last year. This is due to the boost in public infrastructure projects in Singapore.

Meanwhile, layoffs rose after declining in the preceding two-quarters. An estimated 3,300 workers were made redundant in the third quarter of 2012. Layoffs were mainly driven by the electronics manufacturing and retail industry. According to the MOM Report for this quarter, this was one of the few higher quarterly redundancy figures reported in post-recessionary periods, though it was substantially lower than the highs of 6,000 to 12,800 per quarter registered during the last recession.

Furthermore, unemployment rates remained low, reflecting strong manpower demand amid the tightening in foreign manpower controls. The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate dipped marginally to 1.9% in September 2012 from 2.0% a quarter ago, while the unemployment rates for residents and Singapore citizens were unchanged at 2.8% and 3.0% respectively.

According to MOM, a more comprehensive labour market data will be released in the “Labour Market Report, Third Quarter 2012” on December 14 of this year.