Singapore’s youth unemployment hits 24-year low in 2022

Singapore's youth unemployment rate fell due to changes in job preferences and education priorities, according to the Ministry of Manpower.
By: | March 21, 2023

The jobless rate for Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 15-24 dipped to 5.9% in 2022, a 7.3% decrease from 2021 and the lowest point since the 4.3% recorded in 1997.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) attributed the low unemployment rate to fewer schooling youths seeking part-time or temporary jobs in sectors with low barriers of entry, such as retail and food and beverage. MOM’s 2022 labour market report also found that approximately 40% of youth employees held temporary or contract jobs, with 27% of all young people employed also attending school or on vacation from classes.

Full-time positions formed around 73% of all employed resident youths in June 2022, the report said, adding, “When youths gained employment, they were likely to be in full-time positions. This share did not change significantly and was comparable to pre-pandemic levels in 2018 and 2019.”

The report further noted that while young people’s diverse needs in the job market tend to push up their unemployment rates compared to other age groups, the 5.9% unemployment rate in 2022 was much lower than in previous downturns, such as the 8.8% experienced during the global financial crisis in 2009.

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Besides examining youth unemployment rates, the report also analysed the proportion of young people who were not in employment, education or training (Neet). Singapore’s Neet rate of 4% in 2022 was lower than that of other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in 2021, indicating that very few young people were disengaged from employment or training. MOM attributed this to the high quality of Singapore’s education system and suggested that “economic idleness” was less of an issue in the country, reported The Straits Times.