Singapore – Unemployment rate reaches six-year high as redundancy rate rises

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By (Danny Romero)

Singapore’s unemployment rate for the year 2016 rose to 2.1%, its highest level since 2010, according to the latest ‘Labour Market Advance Release 2016’ report from the Ministry of Manpower.

The report also shows that for the whole of 2016, redundancies rose to 19,000, mainly due to restructuring and a slower economy. Redundancies have trended up since 2010, but remained lower than the recessionary high in 2009. Meanwhile, layoffs increased across all broad sectors.

Year-on-year, the median income of citizens grew at a slower pace in 2016. The figures also show that while local employment grew in 2016, foreign employment contracted.

On the whole, total employment is estimated to have increased by 16,400 or 0.4% (8,200 excluding Foreign Domestic Workers) in 2016, the lowest growth since 2003. The moderation in total employment took place amid slower growth in the Singapore economy, slowdown in local labour force growth, and continued tightening of Foreign Worker policy.

Foo See Yang, Managing Director and Country Head of Kelly Services Singapore, commented, “The results from MOM’s Q4 2016 Advance Labor Market Release are reflective of the slow economic growth in 2016. While local employment grew modestly, redundancies were consistent with the same period of the previous year. Local unemployment rose marginally, from 2.1% in Q3 to 2.2% in Q4. Due to the slow economic growth and unpredictable external environment in 2016, Kelly Services anticipates that the labor market in Q1 2017 will likely remain soft, and may only see modest improvement in Q2 2017, after bonus payouts.”

“The uncertain economic environment increases the importance of upskilling for both employed and unemployed workers. With the rise of technology and automation, employees must continue to adapt to the changing work environment and improve skills to ensure they remain productive and ahead of the curve.”

Kelly Services also predicts a continued rise in contract and temporary positions, with an increasing preference for flexibility in the workforce also contributing to this trend.

According to the Ministry, the weaker and more uncertain economic environment in 2016 has presented a challenge to sustain growth and stem a rise in unemployment. The Ministry and Workforce Singapore plan to step up efforts with tripartite partners to help workers to seize new job opportunities through the various employment and career support programmes under SkillsFuture and Adapt and Grow initiatives.

Source:: Singapore – Unemployment rate reaches six-year high as redundancy rate rises


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