July 29, 2022

Job market continues recovery in Q2; global headwinds such as inflation can dampen demand

By brit

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s job market continued its recovery in the second quarter of this year but global headwinds, such as rising inflation, the Russian-Ukraine conflict and a resurgence of Covid-19 infections in major economies including China, may dampen labour demand.

Resident employment – Singaporeans and permanent residents – has surpassed pre-Covid-19 levels by around 4 per cent since December last year and will likely see subdued growth due to the improving unemployment situation, according to advance estimates released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). 

“Going forward, we expect non-resident employment to continue growing at a robust pace as it catches up to its pre-Covid-19 level,” said the ministry on Friday (July 29). Non-resident employment, based on latest estimates, remains about 10 per cent lower than 2019 levels.

For the second quarter, total employment – excluding migrant domestic workers – expanded by 64,400 or 1.9 per cent.

This is a faster pace of growth than the first quarter’s 42,000 or 1.2 per cent.

Non-residents, particularly in construction and manufacturing, drove the increase as employers in these sectors hired to fill a backlog of vacancies and meet rising demand after border restrictions were eased further since April, said MOM.

Its report found that more residents found employment, especially in growth sectors such as information and communications, professional services, and financial services.

Meanwhile, retrenchments declined to around 1,000 for the second quarter, rewriting the record low of 1,320 set in the first quarter.

The services sector accounted for the bulk of the retrenchments with about 700 workers laid off, followed by 200 in manufacturing and 100 in construction.

“As with recent quarters, business reorganisation or restructuring remained the top reason for layoffs,” said MOM.

This come amid high-profile layoffs at technology and cryptocurrency firms, including Tesla, Shopee, Coinbase and Crypto.com last month.

Meanwhile, unemployment rates, which peaked in October 2020, held steady after reaching pre-Covid-19 levels in February this year, amid a tight labour market and a record number of job vacancies available.

Last month, the overall unemployment rate was 2.1 per cent, down from 2.2 per cent in May. The resident unemployment rate fell to 2.9 per cent, from 3 per cent, while that for citizens remained at 3.1 per cent.

More details, including the breakdown of resident and non-resident employment, sectoral breakdowns and re-entry rates among retrenched residents, about the labour market in the second quarter will be released in September.