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Unemployment rate dips, employment growth slows in Q1 2015

SINGAPORE – The unemployment rate dipped slightly in the first quarter of this year, while employment grew at a slower pace compared to the end of last year.

SINGAPORE – The unemployment rate dipped slightly in the first quarter of this year, while employment grew at a slower pace compared to the end of last year.

Preliminary estimates showed that the overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to 1.8 per cent in March, from 1.9 per cent in December last year, said the Ministry of Manpower today (May 2) in a press release.

For residents, the unemployment rate fell over the quarter to 2.5 per cent, from 2.7 per cent. For citizens, the unemployment rate fell to 2.6 per cent from 2.7 per cent.

Employment in March grew by 2.9 per cent compared to a year ago, bringing the total number of persons in employment to 3,624,200. This rate of increase over the year was lower than the 3.7 per cent in December 2014.

Quarter-on-quarter, overall employment growth in the first quarter of this year moderated from the seasonally high increase in the fourth quarter of 2014, said the MOM.

The ministry noted in its Employment Situation, First Quarter 2015 report that a moderation in employment growth is not uncommon in the first quarter, as “seasonal workers hired to meet the increased manpower demand for the year-end and Chinese New Year season leave employment at the end of the festivities in February”.

However, the moderation in the first quarter of 2015 was more significant compared to previous years due to a large decline in the retail, F&B and cleaning industries, the MOM noted.

“While employment growth has slowed, the labour market remains tight and vacancies continue to outnumber jobseekers. This is also evident from the low and continued downward trend of the unemployment rate. This may be reflective of the anticipated slowing of the local labour supply going forward,” said the ministry.

Some 3,500 workers were made redundant in the first quarter, compared to 3,910 workers preceding quarter and 3,110 in the first quarter of 2014.

The ministry said layoffs declined across all major sectors over the quarter, with services forming the majority of layoffs (1,900 or 54 per cent), followed by manufacturing (900 or 26 per cent) and construction (700 or 20 per cent).

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