Singapore Jobless Rate Confirmed At 6-Year High In Q4


Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 from 2.1 percent in the previous two quarters and in line with preliminary estimates. It was the highest jobless rate since the December quarter 2010, as more people entered the labour force while layoff went up the most since the June quarter 2009.

In the three months to December, the jobless rate for residents were up to 3.2 percent (from 2.9 percent in the third quarter) and the rate for citizens also increased to 3.5 percent (from 3.0 percent). 

Some 5,440 workers were laid off, up from 4,220 workers in the September quarter and was the highest since Q2 2009 (5,980).

The rate of re-entry among residents made redundant rose for the second straight quarter. About 52 percent of residents made redundant in the third quarter of 2016 secured employment by December 2016, up from 49 percent from the previous quarter.

Job vacancies decreased to 44,500 (from 53,800 in the September quarter) and was also lower compared to the same period a year earlier (50,600). 

Reflecting seasonal hiring for year-end festivities, total employment grew in the fourth quarter of 2016 (2,300), compared to a contraction in the prior quarter (-2,700), but growth was lower than the fourth quarter 2015 (16,100). 

For full 2016, the annual average unemployment rate increased to 2.1 percent from 1.9 percent in 2015. It was the highest annual jobless rate since 2010. Unemployment among resident went up to 3.0 percent (from 2.8 percent in 2015) while those among citizens went up to 3.1 percent (from 2.9 percent). The increase was broad based across most age and education groups.

Total employment in 2016 increased by 8,600, the lowest growth since 2003 (-11,700). Employment in services sectors such as community, social & personal services rose (20,200), followed by accommodation & food services (6,000), administrative & support services (4,200) and transportation & storage (4,100). In contrast, a decline was seen in manufacturing (-15,500) and construction (-11,500).

In 2016, redundancies rose to 19,170, mainly due to business restructuring and reorganisation, high costs and
downturn in industry. The bulk of redundancies were in professional services (14 percent), fabricated metal products (12 percent) and financial services (12 percent). Redundancies have trended up since 2010.

The annual average rate of re-entry among residents made redundant fell for the second consecutive year to 48 percent, the lowest since the comparable series started in 2010 (53 percent). The decline was observed across all age, education and occupational groups.

Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
3/15/2017 6:43:56 AM