Employment grows in Singapore despite cooling labour demand

Retrenchments also increased for a third consecutive quarter, although employees are taking less time to find re-employment.
By: | June 15, 2023

Total employment in Singapore increased by 33,000 in the first quarter of 2023, compared with 43,500 in the fourth quarter of 2022, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has reported.

Excluding migrant domestic workers, this represented the sixth consecutive quarter of increase, with total employment at 3.8% above the pre-pandemic level of December 2019. Non-resident employment stood at 1.7% above pre-pandemic level, with growth largely registered in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

Resident employment was 4.9% higher than pre-pandemic level, although MOM cautioned of moderate employment growth in the near future due to a weaker external demand outlook and downside risks in the global economy.

READ: Work-life balance tops list of priorities for employees in Singapore

Overall unemployment rates registered at 1.8%, with 3,820 retrenchments in the first quarter of 2023, an increase from 2,990 in the fourth quarter of 2022. These were mainly driven by the electronics manufacturing, information and communications and financial services sectors, where retrenchments took place because of reorganization or restructuring (47.7%) and recission or downturn (19.4%).

However, MOM reported that 71.7% of employees retrenched in the third quarter of 2022 were able to find new employment by the first quarter of 2022. “The rate of re-entry has fared well compared to the pre-pandemic level of 65.9%,” MOM added.