Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Retrenchments double in Q2, resident unemployment rate rises to 3.9%: MOM

SINGAPORE — Retrenchments doubled and unemployment among residents rose to 3.9 per cent in the second quarter of the year from the previous quarter, advance estimates from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed on Wednesday (July 29), as the circuit breaker, which took place between April and June, took its toll on the economy.

Retrenchments rose by 108 per cent to 6,700 between April and June, compared with 3,220 in the first three months of the year.

Retrenchments rose by 108 per cent to 6,700 between April and June, compared with 3,220 in the first three months of the year.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — Retrenchments doubled and unemployment among residents rose to 3.9 per cent in the second quarter of the year from the previous quarter, advance estimates from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed on Wednesday (July 29), as the circuit breaker, which took place between April and June, took its toll on the economy.

Retrenchments rose by 108 per cent to 6,700 between April and June, compared with 3,220 in the first three months of the year. 

The numbers have now surpassed the high during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) crisis, when there were 5,510 retrenchments.

But it remains below the peak reached during the global financial crisis of 2008, when there were 12,760 layoffs. 

All three broad sectors — manufacturing, services and construction — saw a rise in retrenchments over the quarter, said MOM. In particular, retrenchments rose significantly in wholesale trade and transport equipment. This reflects a reduced demand in retail and air travel respectively, added the ministry. 

Unemployment rates over the last quarter:

  • rose from 2.4 per cent in March to 2.9 per cent in June for the overall population 

  • increased from 3.3 per cent to 3.9 per cent for Singapore residents 

  • jumped from 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent among Singapore citizens 

Total employment also contracted “further and far more acutely” in the second quarter, MOM said.

Total employment — excluding foreign domestic workers — contracted by 121,800, a decline that is four times worse than that seen in the first quarter, when total employment contracted by 25,600. 

This brings the total employment decline since the start of 2020 to 147,500.

In comments to the media on Wednesday, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said it would be “reasonable” to expect that the labour numbers have not hit the bottom yet, adding that hiring is likely to remain weaker than usual in the months to come.

“We do see that some hiring will resume. But I will say that if you look at a typical restaurant, even though there is demand and consumers want to return, the volumes that they can take at any one time will not be the same as it was pre-Covid, which will then of course mean that even if they were to bring back some hiring, it’s unlikely to be to the same level as pre-Covid. That's one thing to keep in mind," she said.

"And of course, I think because the outlook is still uncertain, not only within Singapore — Singapore is very plugged into the global economy — when there's weakness in global demand, companies are likely to be much more cautious. That is why we started very early on to plan for this situation, and to accept the fact that for companies to offer a job, it is more likely they will offer traineeships and attachment opportunities."

All three broad sectors saw sharper employment contraction, MOM said.

Within the services sector, the contraction was sharpest in food and beverage services, retail trade, arts, entertainment and recreation, and education — industries that were hardest hit by the two-month circuit breaker. 

Construction also saw a steep decline in employment, while employment contraction in manufacturing “was more modest in comparison”, MOM said.

MOM said the softness in the labour market is likely to persist with continued weakness in hiring and pressure on companies to retrench.

“The external economic environment remains weak and some countries are experiencing a second wave of infections. Conditions for travel-related sectors remain very challenging. Covid-safe management measures will also moderate the pace of recovery in other sectors.”

MOM added that since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, it has been ramping up job support measures. These efforts are now coordinated through the National Jobs Council. 

Besides the Jobs Support Scheme, government hiring is being brought forward and more resources have been made available to implement career conversion programmes. 

For jobseekers who are unable to secure a job due to the weak labour market, attachments and training opportunities will be provided for them to gain industry-relevant skills to help them do so once the market recovers, MOM said.

Related topics

retrenchment Covid-19 MOM unemployment

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.