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Employment Situation in 1st Quarter 2005



Employment gains moderated in the first quarter of 2005 amid a slowdown in economic growth. Preliminary estimates showed that total employment increased by 11,600, lower than the 13,700 in the same period last year.
There was however a sharper slowdown in employment growth compared with the seasonally high job gains of 32,700 in the fourth quarter of 2004.
Although the services-producing sector still contributed a significant share of the job gains, the employment growth for the sector at 6,500 was substantially lower than the 11,400 in the first quarter of 2004.
Growth in manufacturing employment also declined to 4,400, after posting gains of more than 6,000 in each of the four quarters last year.
On the other hand, the fall in construction employment appeared to have bottomed out with employment rising by 700 after shrinking for 17 consecutive quarters.
Preliminary findings from a survey of private sector establishments each with at least 25 employees showed that 2,000 workers were retrenched in the first quarter of 2005. This was a reduction of 38% from the previous period and about one-third lower than in the same period a year ago.
The manufacturing sector laid off 1,200 or three-fifths of the total workers retrenched. The remaining 800 or two-fifths of the layoffs were contributed by the services sector.
With the slowdown in employment growth, the seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate was slightly higher at 3.9% in March 2005 compared to 3.7% in December 2004. The corresponding figure for resident1 unemployment was 4.4%, up from December’s 4.0%.
Despite the rise, unemployment in March 2005 was still lower than in the same period last year (overall unemployment was 4.5% and resident unemployment was 5.2% in March 2004).
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate fell from 3.9% in December 2004 to 3.3% in March 2005 when students seeking year-end vacation jobs returned to their studies.
Among the resident labour force, the non-adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7%. An estimated 68,800 residents were unemployed in March 2005. The seasonally adjusted figure was 81,300.
For More Information
For information on data sources and coverage, as well as definitions of key concepts used in the report, please refer to 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-May 2005 in the Economic Survey of Singapore.
1 Comprises Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents

Source: Ministry of Manpower Press Release 29 Apr 2005



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29 April 2005