While layoffs dipped in the first quarter of this year, the overall unemployment rate continued to edge up, preliminary estimates released on Friday (April 28) by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed.
Pointing to a “mixed” picture, the MOM report also showed that the total number of people in employment shrank.
Seasonally adjusted, the overall unemployment rate — which covers citizens and permanent residents as well as foreigners living in households here — crept up from 2.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent between the end of the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter.
The unemployment rate for citizens and permanent residents, however, stayed unchanged over the same period (3.2 per cent), as did the citizen unemployment rate (3.5 per cent). An estimated 74,400 residents were estimated to be jobless at the end of the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the number of layoffs dipped slightly from 5,440 to 4,800 between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter, with redundancies continuing its climb in the construction and services sectors.
The services sector accounted for more than six in 10 redundancies (63 per cent). For the whole of last year, the number of job redundancies stood at 19,170, the highest since the 2009 global financial crisis.
Total employment, meanwhile, contracted by 8,500, after it grew by 2,300 in the fourth quarter of last year, owing mainly to a dip in the number of work-permit holders in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
For instance, the number of people employed in construction dipped by 12,900, the third straight quarterly fall.