Resident employment grew by 26,300, mainly in higher-paying sectors such as financial & insurance services (9,600), information & communications (7,900), and professional services (5,600).
Singapore's labour market observed significant improvement in 2022, compared to 2021, according to the Ministry of Manpower's Manpower Research and Statistics Department (MRSD).
As shared in its Labour Market Report Q4 2022, total employment in the year grew by an "unprecedented" 227,800, reaching 2.9% above its pre-pandemic level.
Looking further, the report noted that the increase in total employment in the year was largely driven by non-residents (201,600), as employers started to back-fill positions that were vacated by non-residents during the height of the pandemic. This increase was mainly in the construction and manufacturing sectors. Notwithstanding the increase, the non-resident employment level continues to stand at 99.2% of what was recorded in 2019.
Meanwhile, resident employment continued to grow in 2022, (26,300), mainly in higher-paying sectors such as financial & insurance services (9,600), information & communications (7,900), and professional services (5,600); with the total resident employment level standing at 4.8% above its 2019 level.
In Q4 2022 alone, total employment grew by 43,500, expanding for the fifth consecutive quarter, with increases in both resident and non-resident employment. Sectors such as food & beverage services and retail trade also registered a seasonal increase in resident workers due to hiring for the festive season, the report noted.
Reflecting consistent improvements across all quarters of 2022, the annual average unemployment rates in Singapore were significantly lower in the year, with an overall unemployment rate of 2.1%; resident unemployment rate of 2.9%, and citizen unemployment rate of 3.0%. In comparison, these 2021 figures were:
- Overall: 2.7%
- Resident: 3.5%
- Citizen: 3.7%
Per further findings in the report, the unemployment rates in December 2022 (overall: 2.0%, resident: 2.8%, citizen: 2.9%) remained below the levels recorded in 2018/2019, and were the lowest since December 2012. Coming to this year, unemployment rates in January continued to show improvement (overall: 1.9%, resident: 2.7%, citizen: 2.8%).
The report further shared:
- Across most age and education groups, the resident unemployment rates were at or below pre-COVID levels. This was also observed among younger residents aged 30 and below, even though their unemployment rates rose over the quarter (from 4.7% in September 2022, to 5.1% in December 2022).
- The unemployment rate for younger residents is higher than other age groups, as this group include fresh graduates who are searching for work and exploring career options as well as students who move in between temporary or part-time jobs.
- The resident long-term unemployment rate declined in December 2022 (0.6%) to under the pre-pandemic average (2018/2019: 0.7%).
Retrenchments in the full year 2022 added up to 6,400, which MRSD noted was lower than in 2018 (10,730), 2019 (10,690), and 201 (8,020). Additionally, fewer companies carried out retrenchments in 2022 (864), down from 1,113 in 2021.
In Q4, an increase in the number of retrenchments was observed, reaching 2,990 after decline to "record lows" in the previous three quarters (between 830 and 1,320). According to the report, most of the retrenchments occurred in information & communications (370), wholesale trade (450), and electronics manufacturing (670) as "these are outward-oriented sectors facing global headwinds." The top reason cited for retrenchments was business reorganisation/ restructuring.
Retrenchments in other sectors remained stable during that period.
The report further noted:
- The rise in incidences of retrenchment among residents in Q4 2022 was more pronounced for PMETs and degree holders.
- By age, residents in their 40s and 50s were more affected by retrenchment in Q4 2022 than the previous cohort in Q3 2022.
Re-entry into employment
Among residents who were retrenched last year, more found employment within six months (73.1%) in Q4 2022, the highest percentage recorded since Q2 2015 (73.6%). These high rates were also observed in sectors with increasing retrenchments, such as information & communications and wholesale trade.
By age group, re-entry rates improved across most in Q4 2022, except for residents aged 50 to 59, which registered a slight decline from 61.7% in 3Q 2022 to 59.4% in the quarter.
Image / MRSD