Growth in Employment Raises Hopes for 2020
Stronger Job Market Than Expected
The 2019 Singaporean job market has turned out to be stronger than predicted, leading many analysts and recruiters in the private sector to predict increased hiring in 2020.
Recent data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) indicated that total employment growth grew to 21,700 employees in Q3 2019 from 6,200 in Q2, and 16,700 in Q3 2018. In the first nine months of 2019, employment growth was the highest in five years.
Growth from Services Sector
More than half of the growth came from the services sector and accounted for the bulk of total employment growth in Q3, amounting to 15,300. Modern services such as banking, insurance and professional services made up much of the growth in employment in the July to September period in 2019. There was also an increase of employees working in the health and social services sector. These growth areas have been seen by many analysts and recruiters to be sustainable in 2020. Real wage are also expected to increase in 2020.
Moreover, employment growth in the construction sector doubled from 2,700 in the previous quarter to 5,400, due to increased construction activities in the public and private sectors. The manufacturing industry has reversed its three quarters of decline as it increased by 1,000. However, this figure remains at 3,500, lower than the rate in 2018.
Moderate Unemployment and Retrenchment Figures
Figures further show that the overall national unemployment rate increased from 2.2% to 2.3%, compared to the previous quarter. Consequently, the unemployment rate shows that increase among residents is from 3.1% to 3.2%, whereas it rose for citizens from 3.2% to 3.3%.
Retrenchments have risen in the previous quarter to 2,430 from 2,320, but decreased from 2,860 on a year-on-year basis. The six-month re-entry rate for retrenched residents increased from 60 percent in Q2 and 62 percent from a year ago, to 65 percent. Business restructuring and reorganization were the main reasons given for retrenchment.
The number of job vacancies dropped from 47,700 in June to 42,200 in September. In the same period, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed people also decreased from 0.94 to 0.83. The number of job vacancies dropped due to employers being more cautious about recruiting, hence fewer jobs were made available.
Positions that had visible job vacancies and employment growth include managerial-level jobs, professionals, executives and technician positions, social and personal services, financial, insurance, and information and communications.