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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 15 Dec 2005

Singapore Labour Market 3rd Quarter 2005




On the back of an improving economy, overall employment has turned in another quarter of strong gains, adding to the increases of the past eight quarters. Unemployment rate has also edged down slightly.
Employment grew by a healthy 28,500 in Q3 05. Although lower than the preceding quarter¨s gain of 31,700, the increase is double the 14,100 in the same period a year ago.
Cumulatively, employment expanded by 78,000 in the first nine months of 2005, surpassing the 71,400 gains for the whole of last year.
Amid the healthy economic expansion, the seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate dipped slightly to 3.3% in Sep 05 from 3.4% in Jun 051. Among the resident2 labour force, the seasonally adjusted rate was 4.4%, also lower than 4.5% in Jun 05.
Slightly over one in five resident jobs seekers (21% or 14,800) in Sep 05 were unemployed for at least 25 weeks. These long-term unemployed were mostly the less educated and mature job seekers.
A survey of private sector establishments each with at least 25 employees revealed that 2,810 workers were retrenched in Q3 05. This is substantially higher than previous quarter¨s 2,116 and 1,967 in Q3 04, pulled up by a few major retrenchment cases mainly in the electronics industry.
Private sector job openings numbered 20,1003 in Sep 05. This is an increase of 4.2% over the previous quarter and 6.1% higher than a year ago. However, after discounting for seasonal influences, private sector job vacancies in Sep 05 fell slightly from the quarter before.
The seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons decreased from 46 in Jun 05 to 42 job openings for every 100 job seekers in Sep 051. Nevertheless, this is an improvement from the low of 21 openings per 100 job seekers experienced in Sep 03, following the SARS outbreak.
Indicating a tightening of the labour market, nominal earnings rose year-on-year by 4.5% in Q3 05, up from the 2.5% rise in the previous quarter. Most industries saw higher earnings growth except for construction, hotels & restaurants and business & real estate services.
Employment has turned in another quarter of healthy gains, reflecting the continuing strength in the economy.
Looking ahead, the employment expansion is likely to be sustained for the rest of the year, supported by the year-end festivities.
Consequently, employment creation for the whole of this year is expected to match or even exceed the robust gains of 108,500 experienced during the economic boom in 2000.
For More Information
The report is available online on the Ministry of Manpower¨s website at
More..... (Charts)

1 Figures are preliminary.

2 Refers to Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents.

3 Data pertain to private sector establishments each with at least 25 employees.

Source: Press Release 15 Dec 2005

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