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Slowing employment growth and more layoffs: MOM

In the Labour Market Advance Release report for the first quarter of 2016, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reported that despite total employment being 1.4 per cent higher than a year ago, more workers were laid off as compared to this time last year.

The Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released their preliminary labour market report for the first quarter on 28 April, highlighting an unchanged overall unemployment rate and slowing employment growth.

Total employment climbed to nearly 3.67 million in March, with the 1.4 per cent rise mainly being driven by the services sector, which added 11,900 workers to the workforce in the last quarter of 2015. The increase was also greater than the 0.9 per cent growth of the last quarter of 2015.

However, about 4,600 workers were laid off in the first quarter of 2016. In comparison, around 3,500 workers lost their jobs during the first quarter of 2015.

According to the MOM, most of the layoffs occurred in the service sector, which saw 2,500 lose their jobs. The manufacturing and construction sectors were not hit as hard, with 1,800 and 300 in each of the respective sectors.

The MOM’s preliminary data also reported that seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate remained steady at 1.9 per cent for the first quarter.

However, it was also noted that unemployment rate among residents and citizens declined from 2.9 to 2.7 per cent and from 3.0 to 2.6 per cent respectively. The report cited the reason for this drop being a lower labour force participation rate among youths aged 15 to 24.

In the MOM’s statement, it concluded that “amid the cyclical weakness and as the economy restructures, some consolidation and exit of businesses is expected, contributing to redundancies.”

Nevertheless, MOM assured that it is “closely monitoring the current economic and labour market situation” with focus on the higher unemployment rate among residents and citizens. MOM stated that it is currently working together with tripartite partners to help displaced locals re-enter employment.