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Singapore Labour Market Report - 1st Quarter 2005



Amid the slowdown in economic growth, employment continued to grow in the first quarter but the increase has moderated against the robust pace last year.
Total employment rose by 16,900, about half of the seasonally high gains of 32,700 in the fourth quarter of 2004.
Nonetheless, this was higher than the growth of 13,700 in the first quarter last year, supported by a turnaround in construction employment.
The services sector still contributed a significant share of the job gains, although its employment growth at 9,900 was lower than the increase of 11,400 in the first quarter of 2004.
Employment creation in manufacturing also moderated to 5,500, after posting gains of more than 6,000 in each of the four quarters last year.
Construction, on the other hand, added 1,500 workers compared to a reduction of 3,600 workers in the same period last year. The rise in construction employment was the first quarterly increase in four and a half years.
The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment ratep rose to 3.9% in March 2005, from 3.7% three months back. The corresponding resident rate was 4.4% and 4.0%.
Despite the rise, unemployment in March remained below the 4.5% (overall) and 5.2% (resident) a year ago. An estimated 68,800 residents were unemployed in March 2005. The seasonally adjusted figure was 81,300.
While unemployment increased marginally, retrenchments moderated and re-employment rose to its highest in slightly over a year. Layoffs1 dropped by 27% from 2,962 in the first quarter 2004 to 2,168 in the first quarter this year. The decline was greater compared with the previous quarter¡¯s 3,207.
The re-employment rate of retrenched locals also improved, with 68% of those retrenched in the fourth quarter 2004 finding re-employment by March 2005 (within 6 months after retrenchment). This was significantly higher than the 57% experienced by the previous cohort in December 2004, due mainly to an improvement in the re-employment of mature workers.
Job openings among private sector establishments rose to 17,5001 in March 2005, 14% higher than the same period a year ago (15,400).
Compared to December 2004, the number of job vacancies was 7.9% higher. However, excluding seasonal influences, March¡¯s job vacancies were broadly unchanged from December¡¯s.
Coupled with the rise in job seekers, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancy to unemployed persons fell from 41 in December to 36p job openings for every 100 job seekers in March 2005.
For More Information
The report is available online on the Ministry of Manpower¡¯s website at
p preliminary
1 Data pertain to private sector establishments each with at least 25 employees.
More..... (Charts)

Source: Press Release 15 Jun 2005




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15 June 2005