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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 1 May 2007

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Employment situation in 1st quarter 2007



The economy continued to grow at a healthy pace, generating strong employment gains in the first quarter this year.
Preliminary estimates show that total employment grew by 48,000 in the first quarter 2007. This is higher than the gains of 45,000 in the same period a year ago, but seasonally lower than 51,500 in the fourth quarter of 2006.
All major sectors added workers, led by services with gains of 33,400 workers. Manufacturing posted increases in employment of 9,500.
Driven by the pickup in building activities, construction increased its workforce by 5,000, continuing the uptrend that started two years ago.

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Preliminary findings show that 1,800 workers were retrenched in the first quarter of 20071. This is significantly lower than the 3,215 retrenched in the previous quarter and 3,653 in the same quarter a year ago.
The majority of the workers were retrenched from manufacturing (1,300), reflecting the on-going restructuring in the electronics industry. Another 500 of the workers laid off came from the services industries.

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The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate was 2.9% in March 2007, an increase from 2.6% in December 2006. The resident unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) also rose to 4.0% in March 2007 from 3.6% in December 2006.
The rise in unemployment rate reflects more people entering the labour market, on the back of favourable economic conditions2.

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On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the overall unemployment rate fell slightly from 2.6% in December 2006 to 2.5% in March 2007, as students seeking year-end vacation jobs returned to their studies.
Among the resident labour force, the non-adjusted unemployment rate was 3.4%, also lower than the 3.6% in December 2006. An estimated 66,000 residents were unemployed in March 2007. The seasonally adjusted figure was 77,000.
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 the Economic Survey of Singapore, First Quarter 2007.
The above is a statistical release of the Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry.
1 Data pertain to private sector establishments (each with at least 25 employees) and the public sector.

2 The rise in unemployment rate is driven by an increase in labour supply. The resident labour supply is estimated to have increased by 16,300 in the first quarter of 2007. This is higher than the average increase over the last two years, when favourable economic conditions also led to an increase of resident labour supply in the first quarter but by a lower average of 10,700. In contrast, in earlier years the resident labour supply typically shrinks in the first quarter from the seasonally high gains at year end - on average, it shrank by 11,700 in the first quarter of 2001 to 2004.


Source: Press Release 30 Apr 2007

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