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According to the latest Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Labour Market Advance Release Q3 2016, overall unemployment rate in September 2016 was unchanged from June 2016.
In fact, overall employment contracted in the third quarter of 2016, after slower growth in the previous two quarters. Additionally, it also noted “while the number of layoffs fell from the previous quarter, it was higher than a year ago”.
Based on preliminary estimates, some 4,100 workers were made redundant in the third quarter of 2016, down from the 4,800 in the previous quarter. Despite this fall in the number of layoffs, the number of redundancies was higher than the 3,460 a year ago, amid subdued global economic conditions and internal economic restructuring.
Segregated by sectors, redundancies fell over the quarter in services and manufacturing, while it increased in construction. Services continued to form the bulk of redundancies (59%) in the third quarter of 2016, followed by manufacturing (27%) and construction (15%).
In the report, preliminary estimates showed that quarter-on-quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.1% in September 2016, compared to June 2016.
Over the same period, the unemployment rate was broadly similar for residents (3.0% to 2.9%) and citizens (3.1% to 3.0%). In September 2016, an estimated 66,500 residents, including 58,500 Singapore citizens were unemployed in September 2016. This was lower than 68,400 and 60,200 in June 2016.1
As for employment, the total employment contracted in the third quarter of 2016 (-3,300). This is the second time total employment has contracted since the 2008/2009 recession.
A broad-based slowdown in employment growth in the third quarter of 2016, employment growth in services (5,700) slowed from the previous quarter (7,600); with employment in manufacturing continuing to decline (-3,700) for the eighth consecutive quarter.
The magnitude of decline was largely similar to the previous quarter (-3,400), as business outlook for the sector remained unchanged.
Similarly, employment change in construction also turned negative (-5,200), after four quarters of moderated increases. This occurred amid declines in private sector construction activities.
In September 2016, total employment reached 3,670,200, 0.8% higher than a year ago. This was lower than the 1.3% growth in June 2016 and the average growth of about 2.0% in 2015.