Fewer workers were laid off in the first quarter of this year, but overall employment declined, according to preliminary estimates released by the Manpower Ministry on Friday (Apr 28).
About 4,800 workers were laid off in the first quarter, down from the 5,440 made redundant in the fourth quarter but similar to the 4,710 laid off a year ago. Redundancies declined in manufacturing, but continued to increase in construction and services.
The services sector continued to form the bulk of redundancies (63 per cent), followed by manufacturing (21 per cent) and construction (17 per cent).
“With some sectors continuing to experience cyclical weakness, and as businesses continue to restructure, redundancies are expected to remain elevated,” the ministry said.
Total employment declined by 8,500 in the January to March period, after growth of 2,300 in the previous quarter. The decline was mainly due to a decrease in work permit holders in marine and construction, which continue to experience weakness, the ministry said.
AdvertisementThe seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March remained unchanged among residents (3.2 per cent) and citizens (3.5 per cent). Including foreigners, the overall unemployment rate increased from 2.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent.
“While the outlook for the global economy has improved slightly, benefiting some outward-oriented sectors in our economy, downside risks and uncertainties remain,” the ministry said, adding that the labour market outlook is likely to remain uneven across sectors.
“Hiring in some sectors remains cautious, but opportunities will continue to be available in others such as healthcare, infocomm, finance and insurance, and certain segments of manufacturing,” it added.