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The number of job openings held steady from the previous quarter and continued to outnumber job seekers.
That was among the key findings from the Labour Market, First Quarter 2015 report released by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower.
The report found there were 65,300 seasonally adjusted vacancies in March 2015, almost similar to the 65,500 vacancies in the previous quarter.
On the other hand, there were 63,700 vacancies this quarter on a non-seasonally adjusted vacancies – a 5.2% rise from 60,500 a year ago.
These vacancies represented 3.0% of total manpower demand, unchanged from a year ago, according to MOM.
It added these vacancies were available across all skill levels.
About half (31,100) of the vacancies in March 2015 were for professionals, managers, executives and technicians, followed by clerical, service & sales workers (17,500) and production, transport operators, cleaners & labourers (15,000).
With fewer job seekers however, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons edged up to 143 openings per 100 seekers in March 2015, from 142 in December 2014.
“The labour market remained tight in the first quarter of 2015, as the unemployment rate trended lower amid fewer redundancies, and job openings continued to outnumber job seekers,” MOM stated.
Indeed, overall local unemployment declined from 1.9% to 1.8% in March 2015.
After five years of sustained increases, however, MOM added employment levels in Singapore took a dip in the first quarter of 2015.
Overall employment contracted by 6,100 between January to March this year.
The figure was down from the high increases of 40,700 in the preceding quarter and the increase of 28,300 in the first quarter of 2014.
Seasonal declines and sharper moderation in employment growth in sectors with less favourable business conditions were the reasons identified for the fall in employment.
The manufacturing sector took the biggest hit in employment (-6,900), followed by the construction industry (-3,600).
These losses were, however, partly offset by continued increases in services (4,300), including community, social & personal services (6,500) and administrative and support services (2,000).
Overall, total employment reached 3,617,800 in March 2015, 2.7% higher than a year ago.
Redundancies also remained low in first quarter of 2015 (3,500), according to MOM.
1.7 workers were made redundant per 1,000 employees, as compared to 1.9 in the preceding quarter and 1.6 a year ago.