Retrenchments in Singapore dip amidst modest employment growth

While the number of layoffs decreased after three consecutive quarters of increase, fewer companies are looking to hire over the next three months.
By: | July 28, 2023

A total of 3,200 employees were retrenched in the second quarter of 2023 in Singapore, representing a first decline after three consecutive quarters of increases, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has reported.

Citing business re-organisation and restructuring as the top reason for layoffs, MOM also said the figure of 3,200 is around the non-recessionary pre-pandemic range seen in 2019, with retrenchments largely driven by service roles in IT services and wholesale trade.

Total employment excluding migrant domestic employees expanded for the seventh consecutive quarter, although growth slowed from the first quarter of 2023. The number of jobs grew by 23,700 in the second quarter, a drop from the 33,000 added in the first quarter.

Unemployment rates remained low, although they rose slightly in April and May before remaining unchanged between May and June. Preliminary figures showed that the unemployment rates in June were 2.8% for citizens, 2.7% for residents and 1.9 % overall.

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“Over the quarter, the number of unemployed residents rose from 62,200 in March 2023 to 64,600 in June 2023,” MOM said, while cautioning against an expected slowdown in total employment growth.

Only 58.2% percent of companies are looking to hire in the next three months, compared to 64.8% in the last quarter. More employees are also likely to be left disappointed, with only 28% of companies expecting to provide pay raises, compared to 38.2% in the last quarter.