WHILE layoffs eased from 5,370 in the previous quarter to 4,600 in the first quarter of 2016, the number was higher than a year ago (3,500), according to a preliminary report released on Thursday morning by the Ministry of Manpower.
Redundancies fell over the quarter in manufacturing and construction but increased in the services sector.
Overall unemployment rate stayed unchanged in March at 1.9 per cent but it dipped for residents and citizens, due largely to a lower labour force participation rate among youths.
Reversing the decline a year ago (-6,100), overall employment rose by 11,400. Still this was down from the seasonally high growth of 16,100 in the last quarter of 2015. The rise in the first quarter was mainly driven by services (11,900) - though growth slowed from the previous quarter (21,500) after the end of festivities.
Total employment hit 3,667,600 in March, 1.4 per cent higher than a year ago. This was faster than 0.9 per cent rate in December 2015.