Singapore has seen the total number of people in employment shrinking, with retrenchments reaching a seven-year high at the end of the third quarter this year.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said, while releasing its labour-market report for the third quarter, “the long-term unemployment rate for citizens and permanent residents, as well as retrenchment, are at the highest for the period since 2009.”
More job seekers took a longer time to land jobs at the end of the third quarter this year as compared to the last.
The rate of residents without a job for at least 25 weeks rose to 0.8 per cent in September this year, up 0.2 per cent from the same period in 2015.
This proportion of residents who are unemployed for at least 25 weeks also rose to a record high for the period since 2002, forming 30 per cent of unemployed residents at the end of the third quarter, an increase from 23 per cent a year ago.
In the first nine months of this year, total employment grew by 14,500, recording the lowest growth since the 2009 global economic crisis. There were also 13,730 job redundancies.
The MOM said that based on Central Provident Fund records, nearly five in 10 (49 per cent) residents who were laid off in the second quarter of the year re-entered the workforce by the end of the third quarter. This is an improvement over the re-entry rate of 45 per cent at the end of the second quarter.
After “slower growth in the past two-quarters”, the third quarter also saw the first dip in total employment since the first quarter last year, triggered by contractions in the manufacturing and construction sectors. The total number of people in employment shrank by 2,700 in the third quarter.