Local employment rose faster in 2012, as growth in foreign workers moderated amid the tightening in foreign manpower controls. With the high employment creation, unemployment remained low, despite a rise in layoffs. These are the key preliminary findings from the “Employment Situation, 2012” report released by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department. More comprehensive labour market data will be released in the “Labour Market Report, 2012” on 15 March 2013.
Supported by hiring for the festive season, the fourth quarter of 2012 saw higher employment growth. Preliminary estimates showed that total employment grew by 44,500 in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from the gains of 26,200 in the preceding quarter and 37,600 in the fourth quarter of 2011.
For the whole of 2012, total employment increased by 129,600, slightly above the 122,600 in 2011. This mainly reflected the higher employment growth in construction (2012: 39,100; 2011: 22,000), boosted by public building projects. Excluding construction and foreign domestic workers, the increase in total employment at 87,200 in 2012 was lower than the 95,600 in 2011.
Services continued to generate the majority of the total employment gains in 2012 (77,900), though this slowed from 2011 (96,100). Manufacturing added 11,100 workers in 2012, as gains mainly in chemical products outnumbered losses in electronics manufacturing.