With a 2.2% unemployment rate recorded in the first quarter of 2019, unemployment statistics in Singapore remains one of the lowest amongst in the world.
Despite what seems like a healthy unemployment statistics, Singapore has been experiencing a slowdown in the economy, after 2018’s robust growth, where unemployment rate was averaging 2.1% throughout the year. While 2018’s lower jobless rate was driven by expansionary economic activities anticipated towards the end of 2017, this came to a standstill as layoffs rose and vacancies began a steady decline in December 2018.
Amongst residents, unmployment statistics held steady at 3.0% from December 2018, while that of citizens rose from 3.1% in last year’s fourth quarter to 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019. Employment, which is typically higher during festive season was 14,700 around 2018 Christmas, but dropped to 10,700 during Q1 of 2019. Note that this Q1 figure is still higher than the number of employment during the same period a year ago, by 400. The bulk of the increase in domestic employment can be ascribed to the service sector, with community, personal and social services leading the race.
Unemployment statistic in Singapore ascribe the recent rise in the layoff of manufacturing workers – primarily those making electronics. They represent 18% of the total layoffs in 2019, while wholesale workers are a close second with 16% retrenchment in the industry.
Although restructuring has been cited as the primary reason for retrenchment in these industries, previous data show a trend of increasing high costs in the affected industries, so that could have been responsible for the decision to layoff workers in them.
Reentry of those who’ve been layed off remains relatively high, at 66%, with most of them reentering the service sector, but certain demographics still remain out of jobs, particularly those in their 20’s and those with non tertiary education – or post secondary school certificates.