SINGAPORE - REFLECTING the state of the job market, there are now 125 openings for every 100 job-seekers.
Interestingly, employment growth remained practically flat in the first nine months of the year compared with a year ago. The number of jobs created moderated, and layoffs rose after declining in the preceding two quarters.
Yet the labour market remained tight with more job openings, thanks to still busy hirings in the domestic sector and a tighter control of the inflow of foreign workers.
"The tigher supply of foreign workers has likely reduced the labour force - apart from a slower inflow of new foreign workers, existing Work Permit holders would have to leave Singapore if they fail to renew their work passes," says economist Kit Wei Zheng from Citigroup.
Final figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also confirmed the preliminary estimate of the 3Q unemployment rate at a seasonally adjusted 1.9 per cent in September, down from 2 per cent a quarter ago.
There was a slight upward revision in the job growth - from 24,900 to 26,200 - but that's still way down from a year ago when 31,900 jobs were created.
It's also down from 2Q this year when employment grew by 31,700.
Total jobs created in the first nine months of the year came to 85,100, similar to the increase of 85,000 in the same period last year.
Reversing the declines in the previous two quarters, job openings rose in 3Q. The seasonally adjusted vacancies jumped 13 per cent over the quarter to 51,500 in September. For every 100 job seekers, there were now 125 openings, up from 91 in June and 105 in March this year.