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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 16 December 2006

Labour Market 3rd Quarter 2006 Report



Record employment creation amid moderate wage gains

Amid the sustained economic expansion, employment creation hit an all-time high increasing by 43,000 in Q3 06, much higher than the 28,500 in the same period last year.
Cumulatively in the first nine months this year, the economy added 124,500 workers, surpassing the gains of 113,300 for the whole of 2005. This employment creation is the highest ever recorded1.
The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate was 2.7% in Sep 06, a marked improvement from 3.2% a year ago and slightly lower than 2.8% in Jun 06.
The resident 2 unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% from three months ago, but is significantly lower than 4.2% in Sep 05 and the high of 6.0% in Sep 03.
An estimated 60,700 residents were unemployed in Sep 06 (non-seasonally adjusted).
One in five or 12,400 of the unemployed residents had been looking for work for at least 25 weeks, lower than 14,900 or 21% a year ago. These long-term unemployed formed 0.7% of the resident labour force in Sep 06, an improvement from 0.8% in Sep 05 to a six-year low for September periods.
In Q3 06, 2,435 workers3 were retrenched, an improvement from the previous quarter (3,211) and Q3 05 (2,810). This brings the total number retrenched in the first nine months this year to 9,157 workers.
Buoyed by the strong economy, CPF records show that the re-employment rate (within 6 months of retrenchment) improved to 74% in Sep 06, the highest in slightly over a decade.
Private sector establishments each with at least 25 employees reported 25,700 job vacancies in Sep 06. Although this is a slight decrease from the previous quarter (27,500), it is 28% higher than a year ago (20,100).
The bulk of the job openings continued to come from the services industries, which accounted for 16,300 or 63% of total vacancies. Manufacturing contributed another 7,800 or 30% of the openings and construction, the remaining 1,200 or 4.9%.
Average monthly nominal earnings based on CPF records grew by 2.8% over the year in Q3 06, down from 3.8% in Q2 06.
On average, nominal earnings rose by 3.2% in the first nine months this year compared with 3.9% in the corresponding period last year and 8.0% during the last economic boom in 2000. Nevertheless, the year-end bonus payout could be higher this year as more employers seek to reward their employees through bonuses rather than basic salary.
In summary, the sustained economic expansion has created record number of jobs. Unemployment has also eased substantially from the high in 2003. While large wage increases have been reported in the media for selected occupations in demand, at the overall level, the rise in monthly earnings has so far been moderate.
For More Information
The report is available online on the Ministry of Manpower¨s website at

1 Data compilation started from late 70s.

2 Refers to Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

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

Source: Press Release 15 Dec 2006

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