In the third quarter, the jobless rate held steady for both residents (at 2.9 percent) and citizens (3.0 percent).
Total employment increased by 15,200 as employers quickened the pace of hiring, more than double than that in the June quarter (6,500), and a reversal from a decline in the September quarter 2017 (-4,100). The higher employment growth in the third quarter 2018 was broad based. Increases were observed in manufacturing (3,500) after fifteen consecutive quarters of fall. Also, there were gains in services (12,300 excluding foreign domestic workers/ FDW), such as in professional services, information & communications, community, social & personal services and financial & insurance. In contrast, employment in construction declined by 400, reflecting weakness in public sector construction activities. Still, the pace of decline was slower than those of previous quarters.
Some 2,500 workers were laid off, lower than that in the second quarter (3,030) and the same period a year ago (3,400). Retrenchments in construction and services were lower over the quarter but remained similar in manufacturing. Services (60 percent) and manufacturing (32 percent) contributed to most of the retrenchments, while construction (8 percent) made up the rest. Cumulatively for the first three quarters of 2018, retrenchment was lower than the same periods in the preceding two years.