In Singapore, total employment grew by 6,500 in the second quarter (Q2) of 2018, larger than the increase in the preceding quarter (3,700 or 400 excluding foreign domestic workers, i.e. FDW).

In all, total employment (excluding FDW) grew by 6,900 in the first half (H1) of 2018, similar to the growth of 6,700 in the H2 of 2017, and reversing the contraction of 17,300 in the first half of 2017.

This growth in employment was generally attributed to the services sector (7,200 excluding FDW). Breaking this down further, the employment growth in services was led by:

  • Transportation & storage (2,600)
  • Information & communications (2,400)
  • Community, social and personal services (2,100, mainly in health & social services)
  • Financial & insurance services (1,700).

These outweighed declines which mainly came from retail trade (-2,400), and accommodation and food services (-1,600). Employment in manufacturing (-100) and construction (-700) continued to contract, though the decline has eased considerably from the preceding quarters.

Additionally, foreign employment (excluding FDW) grew slightly by 400 in H1 2018, compared with the decline in H1 2017 (-21,400). This was due to the moderated decline in the construction sector (-5,400 in H1 2018, compared to -20,400 in H1 2017), and stronger growth in the Services sector (+8,200 in H1 2018, compared to +5,200 in H1 2017).

All data is from the Labour Market Report Second Quarter 2018 by Ministry of Manpower.

Layoffs in Singapore in Q2 2018

Despite the growth in employment, retrenchments in Q2 2018 (3,030) were higher than the previous quarter (2,320); although they remained lower than the same period a year ago (3,640). The top reasons for layoffs? Business restructuring and reorganisation, accounting for close to two-thirds.

Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) formed the majority (79%) of all retrenched residents, and were over-represented relative to their overall workforce composition.

Sectorally, the bulk of the retrenchments (57%) came from services, mainly in wholesale trade, professional services and financial services.


Paid hours worked per employee

The average total weekly paid hours worked per employee rose marginally to 44.9 hours in June 2018 from 44.8 hours a quarter ago, reflecting the  increase in paid overtime hours from 2.8 to 2.9 hours. Nevertheless, the hours worked remained lower than a year ago (total 45.2; overtime: 3.0).

The uptick over the quarter was led by retail trade (+0.8), and electronics (+0.5). Over the year, sustained increases in paid hours worked were observed in wholesale trade, information & communications and cleaning and landscaping.

In contrast, manufacturing and construction continued to record year-on-year decreases in hours worked. Within services, the largest decrease occurred in real estate services, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of year-on-year decrease for the sector.

Graphics / Manpower Research and Statistics Department