Pic by ILO
The Singapore labor market continued to improve on all fronts in 1Q 2022. Resident employment has grown beyond pre-pandemic levels (3.9% higher than in December 2019) while unemployment rates continued a downward trend to pre-pandemic levels (overall: from high of 3.6% to 2.2%, resident: from 4.9% to 3.0%, citizen: from 5.0% to 3.1%).
Although the resident long-term unemployment rate remained above the pre-pandemic level (0.8% vs. 0.7%), this too has improved. The number of retrenchments dipped to a record low of 1,320, and a higher re-entry rate (72%) was observed among residents, six months post retrenchment.
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), job vacancies increased to a new high of 128,100, though the rate of increase has slowed (9% compared to 17% in the previous quarter).
With the significant relaxation of border restrictions from April 2022, MOM expect non-resident worker inflows to recover, which will alleviate labour shortages in the months ahead. At the same time, the Government will continue to support businesses to strengthen local hiring and pursue transformation, so that they can remain competitive.
Employment for residents were mixed across sectors, with growth seen in the financial services, information & communications, professional services, and health & social services. Consumer-facing sectors saw a decline, however, due to it having a seasonal pattern where temporary workers are hired for year-end festivities, but leaving once that is over.
Eligible employers can still apply for the government’s Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) salary support scheme which has been extended to September 2022. Eligible employers can receive up to S$21,600 per hire over a 12-month period. Between September 2020 and November 2021, JGI has supported close to 600,000 local hires by 74,000 companies.