Singapore saw its lowest quarterly employment rate between April and June (Q2), quadrupling the drop in the first quarter (Q1; Jan – Mar).
The number of workers here, excluding foreign domestic workers (FDW), plunged steeply by 121,800 in the second quarter, according to preliminary data released in a Labour Market Advance Report for Q2 by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Wednesday (29 Jul).
In Q1, 25,600 people became unemployed.
That means in the first half of 2020, 147,500 workers in total are unemployed.
The number of unemployed Singaporeans climbed to 79,600 in June 2020. Including permanent residents, there were a total of 90,500 unemployed residents in June, up from 76,200 in March.
As a result, the unemployment rate for Singaporeans rose to 4 per cent in June, up from 3.5 per cent in March, after factoring in seasonal variants.
The rate for residents rose to 3.9 per cent, from 3.3 per cent, and the overall rate rose to 2.9 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent.
However, unemployment is still lower than during the Sars outbreak in 2003 and during the global financial crisis in 2009, MOM added.
The decline in employment was steepest in the services industry: due to the circuit breaker and safe distancing measures which did not permit people to go out of the house.
The sectors in the industry include food and beverage services, retail trade, arts, entertainment and recreation, and education.
The employment numbers for the services industry stood at 2,692,600 persons (2,440,000 excluding FDW) for June 2020.
Construction, which currently employs 436,700 persons, also saw a sharp drop in employment. Manufacturing did so too, albeit more moderately. It currently still has 472,000 employees in the sector.
Retrenchment took a sharp hit as well
As for retrenchments in Q2, it saw more than double the increase from Q1, with 6,700 workers losing their jobs as compared to 3,220 in Q1.
This was higher than the 5,510 recorded during Sars but lower than the numbers in the 2009 global financial crisis which stood at 12,760.
Retrenchment affected the transport equipment sector moderately due to the declined demand for air travel, the ministry added.
However, the worst hit industry for retrenchment was again in services as decrease in demand for wholesale trade affected retail sector. It almost doubled from 2,360 in Q1 to 4,600 in Q2.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that the decrease in employment was “quite reflective of the workforce composition” in regards to the proportion between local and foreign workers.
However, she noted that the exact figures are not ready.
Employment totalled at 3,627,600 (3,375,000 excluding FDW) in June 2020 – these figures include other sectors like agriculture and fishing.
New SGUnited mid-career pathway programme adds more than 13,000 attachments
From August, more than 13,000 attachments focused on mid-career level with companies across multiple industries will be available to local mid-career job seekers, MOM and the Workforce Singapore said on Wednesday.
Under this new initiative as part of the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programme, those who take on the attachments, which range between four and nine months, will receive a monthly training allowance of between S$1,400 and S$3,000.
Eighty per cent of the allowance will be funded by the Government, with the remaining 20 per cent being covered by the attached organisation.
Introduced at the beginning of July, the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programme, under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, was created to provide attachments and full-time training courses for mid-career jobseekers.