Rise in resident employment figures in Q3 with lower retrenchment rate
The Manpower Ministry (MOM) announced on October 29 that there was a significant uptick in resident employment with lower retrenchments in the third quarter due to improved labour market conditions.
Uneven recovery across sectors
Despite the upbeat news, MOM’s permanent secretary observed that the recovery was uneven across sectors. In outward-oriented industries such as professional services, information and communications, and financial services, resident employment increased more significantly. However, for sectors such as retail trade and food and beverage services, the resident workforce was reduced due to the tightened safe management measures and pandemic border restrictions enforced in Q3. Non-resident employment continued to fall across most sectors due to border restrictions.
There were 2000 retrenchments in the third quarter which constitutes 25 percent of the number of retrenchments recorded during the unemployment peak in 2020. Unemployment figures also fell 0.1 percentage points in all categories, with an overall rate of 2.6 percent (resident unemployment at 3.5 % and citizen unemployment at 3.7%). The unemployment rate has continued to fall steadily since its peak in 2020 but remains high compared to the pre-pandemic period.
A further boost to the local labour market
Mixed employment trends are likely to persist till Q4 due to the stabilisation phase. However, the expansion of the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) and travel-related activities may give a much-needed boost to travel-related industries such as air transport services and accommodation.
Manpower Minister Tan See Leng also encouraged companies to expand hiring strategies and consider mid-career workers as well as those who are willing to reskill to take on new roles. The third quarter labour market report would be released in mid-December this year to provide further details such as re-entry rates amongst retrenchment residents, resident and non-resident employment, sectoral breakdowns, number of job vacancies, and labour turnover rates.
What are your thoughts on the improved labour market conditions in the last quarter? Are you optimistic about the job market in 2022?