Singapore's labour market landscape observed much higher growth in total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, in Q3 2019 (22,400), as compared to Q2 2019 (6,200) and Q3 last year (16,700).

According to Ministry of Manpower's latest Labour Market Advance Report released yesterday, the construction, services, and manufacturing sectors saw a growth in employment, while wholesale & retail trade registered a slight decline.

In particular, the construction sector saw its biggest growth (5,300) since Q1 2014 (6,300), owing to a pick-up in both private and public sector construction activities.

At the same time, the services sector grew by 16,100 employed in Q3 this year, significantly higher than the 5,400 observed in Q2 and y-o-y (Q3 2018: 13,800). Based on the release, the highest contributor to this growth came from the community, social & personal services, professional services, and information & communications lines.

Last, the manufacturing sector grew by 1,200, following three consecutive quarters of decline, yet at a slower pace y-o-y (Q3 2018: 3,500).

About 74,700 residents were unemployed in September 2019

On the unemployment front, the country saw a rise in the unemployment rate people in Q3, as September came. Overall, taking into account residents and citizens, it increased to 2.3% last quarter, versus 2.2% previously.

Among residents itself, the unemployment rate rose from 3.1% to 3.2%, while for citizens it rose from 3.2% to 3.3%).

In total, about 74,700 residents were unemployed in September this year, a jump from 72,600 in June. Similarly, the number of unemployed citizens rose from 64,200 in June to 65,000 in September.

Based on the report, this inch-up in unemployment presented a mismatch in the labour market, given that there were still a number of job vacancies available.

Commenting on this in a post, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said it could possibly be due either to jobseekers not having the skills to access available jobs, or due to jobs being "insufficiently attractive."

To close this gap, she stressed that it required both jobseekers and employers to be "more open and flexible". "Jobseekers naturally prefer to return to their past occupations or industries. The better opportunities may however lie elsewhere. Some training and adjustment may be needed."

She added: "Employers too may prefer those with the same functional or industry experience, or both. Increasingly, more are willing to train and take in mid-career candidates.

"This has helped to raise employment rates of older Singaporeans and we are catching up with OECD countries."

Retrenchments rose in manufacturing, construction and services

In terms of retrenchments last quarter, there was a noticeable jump recorded as compared to Q2 2019 (2,900 versus 2,320). That said, the increase was not so significant when compared y-o-y (2,860).

In line with this, the services sector contributed the most to retrenchment numbers (66%), while the manufacturing sector (21%) and construction sector (14%) followed behind.

Lead image / MOM