html> Getforme Singapore EMPLOYMENT SITUATION IN 4TH QUARTER 2004 FrontPage Edition 1 FEBRUARY 2005

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Employment situation in 4th Quarter 2004




Preliminary estimates show that employment grew by a strong 66,200 in 2004, more than recovering the job losses totalling 35,900 over the preceding three years. This brings the total number of persons employed to a new high of 2,201,300 as at December 2004.

The growth was achieved on the back of robust quarterly gains which peaked at 27,500 in the fourth quarter 2004. This was the strongest quarterly performance in four years.

Supported by seasonal hirings for the year-end festivities, the services-producing industries added 23,300 workers in the fourth quarter, bringing the employment gains in services in the whole of 2004 to 49,900. This accounted for three-quarters of the total employment gains in the year.

Manufacturing employment rose more modestly by 5,700 in the fourth quarter 2004. However, boosted by higher gains earlier in the year, manufacturing employment grew by a robust 26,700 in 2004, erasing the losses of the preceding three years. Construction employment continued to decline in 2004 (-9,100), but at a considerably slower pace than before.


Preliminary findings from a survey of private sector establishments each with at least 25 employees show that 2,900 workers were retrenched in the fourth quarter of 2004. This was an increase of 47% from the previous quarter’s low of 1,967, but was significantly less than the quarterly average of over 4,000 retrenched during the three years prior to 2004.

A total of 9,900 workers were retrenched in the whole of 2004, a marked decline of 40% from 16,400 in 2003. The services-producing industries made up one-half of the workers laid off in 2004. Another 44% were contributed by manufacturing and 6% by construction and other industries.


Reflecting the strong employment creation, the year ended with a seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate of 3.7% in December 2004, significantly lower than 4.6% a year ago. For the resident1 labour force, the corresponding rate was 4.0% compared with 5.0%.

Riding on the strong growth momentum in the first half of 2004, December’s unemployment at 3.7% was broadly stable from a revised 3.6% in September, despite the moderation in economic growth in the second half.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the overall unemployment rate rose from 3.1% in September 2004 to 3.9% in December 2004, due to students looking for vacation jobs and the entry of school leavers into the labour force during year-end. Among the resident labour force, the non-adjusted unemployment rate was 4.3%. An estimated 78,600 residents were unemployed in December 2004. The seasonally adjusted figure was 71,800.

1 Comprises Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents

For more information

The concepts, definitions and sources of the data are contained in the attached Explanatory Notes. The preliminary data estimates are available online at the Ministry of Manpower’s website: A more detailed breakdown of the preliminary estimates will be released in mid-February 2005 in the Economic Survey of Singapore.


Source: Ministry of Manpower Press Release 31 Jan 2005


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1 February 2005