The number of workers laid off in Singapore hit a seven-year high in the first nine months of 2016 – the highest since the global financial crisis in 2009, figures released on Tuesday (Dec 13) by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed.
A total of 13,730 workers were retrenched in the first nine months of this year, an increase from the 10,220 retrenched during the same period last year and the highest since the first nine months of 2009 when 21,210 workers were laid off, according to the ministry’s quarterly labour market report.
During the third quarter, 4,220 workers were retrenched, down from the 4,800 laid off in the previous quarter but higher than the 3,460 retrenched in the same quarter last year.
Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) were more likely to be made redundant, the MOM report said. These workers formed the majority (73 per cent) of Singapore residents laid off during the quarter, and those with tertiary qualifications also formed the bulk of resident layoffs.
The overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.1 per cent. Among Singaporeans, the unemployment rate was 3 per cent in September, down from 3.1 per cent in June, and among residents, it was 2.9 per cent, down from 3 per cent.
However, more job seekers were taking a longer time to find work, with the resident long-term unemployment rate rising to 0.8 per cent in September, up from 0.6 per cent a year ago and the highest September rate since 2009.
Total employment shrank by 2,700, the first decline in more than a year, MOM findings showed. The decline was primarily due to contractions in the manufacturing and construction industries, affecting mainly work permit holders. Over the first nine months, total employment grew by 14,500, but it was the lowest such growth since 2009.
“The contraction in total employment, heightened redundancy levels and decline in job vacancies to unemployed ratio reflect the current subdued global economic conditions and ongoing economic restructuring,” the ministry said.
It added that tripartite partners will continue to help affected workers look for new jobs.