Singapore: Labour demand shows signs of easing in Q1 as job vacancies fall for 4th straight quarter

WHILE Singapore’s labour market remains tight, there are some signs of cooling labour demand in the first quarter, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in the latest Labour Market Report on Thursday (Jun 15).

Both the number of job vacancies and the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons “remained high but have both eased”, while employment growth has eased from the previous quarter, said MOM.

Job vacancies fell for the fourth straight quarter to 99,600 in March. While the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons declined from December, it remained high at 2.28.

MOM said the vacancies in March were spread across different industries, and were found mainly in growth industries such as information and communications (8,100), health and social services (7,800), professional services (7,700) and financial services (6,300).

There were 3,820 retrenchments in Q1, up from the 2,990 in the previous quarter, but still below the peak seen in 2020, said MOM.

The uptick in layoffs was driven mainly by the electronics manufacturing, information and communications, and financial services sectors. MOM said reorganisation or restructuring was the main reason for the majority of the layoffs, with 19.4 per cent of retrenchments due to recession or downturn.

Total employment, excluding migrant domestic workers, grew by 33,000 in the first quarter, just slightly higher than the 43,500 recorded in the previous quarter.

Non-resident employment grew by 30,200, moderating from the quarter before. Similarly, resident employment was up 2,800, expanding at a slower rate than the previous quarter.

Nevertheless, non-resident employment exceeded its pre-pandemic level for the first time in the first quarter, reaching 1.7 per cent above pre-Covid levels as at March this year.

Unemployment rates have remained slow, at 1.8 per cent overall, and at 2.6 per cent for residents and 2.7 per cent for citizens.