The latest Labour Market Advance Release 2018 report released by the Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) revealed that a total of 11,020 layoffs took place in the entire year of 2018. This is lower than the previous year, which saw 14,720 layoffs. Sector-wise, services formed 65% of the numbers, followed by manufacturing at 24% and construction making up 11%.
The report showed that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rates rose slightly from September 2018 to December 2018 for overall (from 2.1% to 2.2%), residents (3.0% to 3.1%) and citizens (3.0% to 3.1%). The report showed, however, that despite this slight increase, the annual average unemployment rates for the entire 2018 were lower than that in 2017, thus reflecting a general downtrend in unemployment rates since March 2017.
Meanwhile, the total estimated number of unemployed residents stood at 69,800 (including 60,600 citizens) – higher than the 66,000 (and 58,200) seen in September that year.
As far as the employment numbers are concerned, total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW)) grew by 15,600 in the fourth quarter of 2018, slightly lower than the preceding quarter (16,700). For the whole of 2018, total employment (excluding FDW) grew by 39,300. The increase was driven by services which added 48,300.
In total, Singapore saw a total number of 3,462,000 employed people in December 2018, comprising 2,329,900 locals and 1,132,200 foreigners. Of every three persons in employment (excluding FDW), two were locals (67.3%) and one was a foreigner (32.7%).
Sector-wise, employment grew by 17,500 in Q4, up from a growth of 13,800 in Q3 in the services sector. In the construction sector, employment remained unchanged in this sector amidst weakness in the sector. In the manufacturing sector, employment dropped by 2,000 despite a previous increase of 3,500 in Q3 2018.
Another positive trend was that Singaporean workers continued to earn higher incomes in the recent five years. The real median income (including employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed Singaporeans increased by 3.6% p.a. from 2013 to 2018, significantly higher than the 1.7% p.a. in the previous five years.