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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 3 May 2008

Employment situation in 1st qtr 2008


Employment growth remains strong; Unemployment up; Retrenchments unchanged
Employment continued to grow strongly as the economy picked up pace in the first quarter of 2008. Preliminary estimates show that employment grew by 68,400 in the first quarter this year. This is higher than the increase of 62,500 in the previous quarter and 49,400 in the first quarter of 2007.
Services continued to lead the employment gains, adding 42,900 workers in the first quarter of 2008. Driven by the growth in building activities, construction increased its workforce by 13,400, continuing the rapid increase of the earlier quarters. Manufacturing posted gains of 11,900.

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Preliminary findings show that 2,000 workers were retrenched in the first quarter of 2008. This is about the same as the number retrenched in the previous quarter (1,966) and in the same quarter a year ago (1,964).
The majority of the workers retrenched were from manufacturing (1,500), mainly from the electronics industry. Another 500 workers were laid off from the services industries.

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Amid greater economic uncertainties, the overall unemployment rate rose from a seasonally adjusted 1.7% in December 2007[1] to 2.0% in March 08. The increase among the resident labour force was from 2.4% to 2.9%. Notwithstanding the rise, the unemployment rate in March 2008 is still lower than a year ago when the rate was 2.8% (overall) and 3.8% (resident).

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On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the overall unemployment rate rose from 1.6% in December 2007 to 1.8% in March 2008. Among the resident labour force, the non-adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6% in March 2008, also higher than 2.3% in December 2007. An estimated 49,500 residents were unemployed in March 2008. The seasonally adjusted figure was 54,400.
More Information
Information on data sources and coverage, as well as definitions of key concepts used in the report is in 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 2008.
The above is a statistical release of the Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry.

[1] Dec 07 unemployment figures were revised from 1.6% to 1.7% (overall) and 2.3% to 2.4% (residents), arising from annual updating of seasonal factors to take into account the observations for the latest available year

Source: Press Release 30 Apr 2008

Related Article:
Employment situation in 4th quarter 2007

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