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Labour Market Report 3Q 2023: Total employment increased despite weaker economic outlook

Increases were seen in both resident and non-resident employment.

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By Ian Tan Hanhonn 14 Dec 2023
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The labour market continued to expand in the third quarter (3Q) of 2023, with resident employment growing by 2,800 – a reversal from the contraction seen in the second quarter of the year.


The expansion in resident employment was mainly seen in growth sectors such as Health & Social Services, Financial Services, and Professional Services.


The Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Manpower Research and Statistics Department shared these findings on 14 December 2023.


Meanwhile, there were signs of cooling labour demand in non-resident employment, which grew by 20,800 – a dip from the previous quarter’s 25,500 increase.


Job vacancies also continued to dip, falling for the sixth consecutive quarter to 78,400 in September, from 87,900 in June.


Overall, the labour market remained tight, with a 1.58:1 ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons in September 2023.


Third quarter’s findings in numbers


Total employment, excluding Migrant Domestic Workers, expanded by 23,600 in 3Q 2023.


The increase was smaller compared to 2Q 2023, which expanded by 24,300.


By the end of October, unemployment rates ended largely similar to June 2023. The overall, resident and citizen unemployment rates were recorded at 1.9, 2.7 and 2.9 per cent respectively. Citizen unemployment increased by 0.1 per cent compared to the previous quarter.


Resident long-term unemployment rate rose from 0.5 per cent in June 2023 to 0.7 per cent in September 2023 – similar to the pre-COVID average rate.


NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay noted that “cyclical and structural forces are back in play”, with resident long-term unemployment and retrenchment numbers crossing the 11,000 mark for three consecutive quarters.


He expects the number to cross the 12,000 mark in the fourth quarter of 2023, especially with the ongoing layoffs in the electronics manufacturing sector.


“The report underscores the importance and imperativeness of what we shared recently, which Harvard Business Review covered in a write-up on our Singapore Tripartite approach to Training and Training Committees to uplift employment and employability,” Mr Tay wrote on Facebook.


In the same vein, MOM said the Government and tripartite partners will continue to support employers and workers to press on with business transformation and upskilling during this period of economic uncertainties.


Employers keen to optimise their business and workforce can visit this link to find out how NTUC can help transform your operations.