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Quick takes: Dim outlook for Singapore labour numbers

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 12:24
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The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Singapore went up to 2.1 per cent in June this year, a slight increase from the 1.9 per cent in March.

THE seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Singapore went up to 2.1 per cent in June this year, a slight increase from the 1.9 per cent in March.

This is according to preliminary estimates for the second quarter of 2016, released by the Ministry of Manpower on Thursday morning.

The unemployment rate among Singapore residents went up to 3 per cent (from 2.7 per cent in the previous quarter). For Singapore citizens, the rate rose to 3.1 per cent (from 2.6 per cent previously).

Here are some economists' and analysts' comments:

Senior economist Irvin Seah, DBS:

"Redundancies have continued to rise and the risk is that it could potentially be higher than last year's number. Overall redundancies in 2015 totaled 15,580, the highest since the global financial crisis period (ie about 20,100 in 2009). As of H1 2016, total redundancies have already hit 10,210. At the current pace, this year's job losses will be worse than last year's.

"Growth outlook remains dim. Though there has been an uptick in growth performance in the second quarter, the improvement was subdued. Pockets of risks remain in the global environment, which could impact Singapore adversely. With this latest set of manpower statistics, we expect more labour pain ahead."

Head of treasury research and strategy Selena Ling, OCBC Bank:

"Looking ahead, a subdued growth environment post-Brexit, domestic economic restructuring and slowing local labour force growth will likely constrain job creation, but we do not expect the unemployment rate to deviate too far from the 2 per cent handle for now as H2 GDP growth should be similar to the sluggish H1 and the foreign manpower restrictions are unlikely to be lifted in the near-term."

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