SINGAPORE - Employment grew at a slower pace in the first quarter of this year, compared with the last quarter of 2015, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in its Labour Market Advance Release First Quarter 2016 report.
This growth of 11,400, down from 16,100 in Q4 2015, was mainly driven by services although growth in the sector had also slowed due to the end of festivities.
While manufacturing employment extended its decline (-2,000) for the sixth consecutive quarter, the rate of decline in the first quarter of 2016 had slowed relative to the previous five quarters (-4,700 on average).
On the other hand, employment in construction grew faster in the first quarter of 2016 than the preceding quarter.
In March 2016, total employment reached 3,667,600, which is 1.4 per cent higher than a year ago. This was faster than the 0.9 per cent pace in December 2015.
According to MOM, fewer workers were made redundant in Q1 2016 with 4,600 layoffs compared to 5,370 in the previous quarter. However, the number was still higher than the 3,500 a year ago.
Lower numbers of layoffs were seen in manufacturing and construction, but increased in the services sector.
MOM said in a statement on April 28 that some consolidation and exit of businesses is expected amid cyclical weakness and as the economy restructures, contributing to redundancies.
"While unemployment remains low and has declined for locals, MOM is closely monitoring the current economic and labour market situation, and is working closely with tripartite partners to strengthen employment support to help displaced locals re-enter employment," a spokesperson added.
Preliminary estimates by MOM also showed that the overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 1.9 per cent from December 2015 to March 2016.
Over the same period, unemployment rate declined among residents from 2.9 per cent to 2.7 per cent, and among citizens from 3.0 per cent to 2.6 per cent. This was largely due to a lower labour force participation rate among youths aged 15 to 24.