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Employment grew at a slower pace in the second quarter (Q2) this year compared to the same period last year, prompting a Facebook post by Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say to address the matter.
Statistics in the quarterly employment report by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed employment grew at a slower pace in Q2 2015, compared to the same period last year, following a contraction in the previous quarter.
Overall employment grew by 15,700 in the second quarter of 2015 after contracting in the last quarter, although the growth was slower than a year ago.
The growth was led mainly by the construction and services sectors. In services, employment grew faster (11,400) than the previous quarter (4,300), though slower than a year ago (25,200).
Construction employment also grew by 7,800 in the second quarter of 2015, following declines (-3,600) in the previous quarter, as public sector construction activities rose.
Wrote Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say in his post: “More people are working in the second quarter after a contraction in the first quarter.”
“The increase is not as high as last year, but this is not unexpected because we are slowing down the increase of foreign manpower and at the same time speeding up the development of a stronger Singaporean Core in all major sectors of our economy.”
The report also showed the overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 1.8% in March 2015 to 2% in June 2015, with unemployment rising among both residents (from 2.5% to 2.8%), and citizens (2.6% to 2.9%).
As a result, an estimated 84,700 residents, including 75,200 Singapore citizens were unemployed in June 2015. The seasonally adjusted figures were 62,900 for residents and 56,100 for citizens.
On the growth in unemployment rate for citizens, the Minister wrote: “We must make sure that this is not due to a growing mismatch between the skills and expectations of the job seekers versus the skills requirements and job offerings from the employers.”
He explained how the Ministry is working to correct this potential mismatch, saying, “I am not taking any chances on this.”
“Together with our partners in the unions, business industries and government agencies, my colleagues at MOM and WDA and I are pushing hard and running fast on SkillsFuture to minimise this potential mismatch as we create better career opportunities for Singaporeans at all levels.”
“Our employment situation is by no means perfect, but it is one of the best in the world. Our employment rate is one of the highest globally while our unemployment rate is one of the lowest. We must strive to keep it this way for as long as we can,” wrote Lim in the post.
The figures also showed a slight decrease in layoffs in Q2 2015, with 3,100 workers laid off, down from 3,500 in the previous quarter, but still more than the 2,410 in the same period last year.