SINGAPORE companies in the services sector as a whole said they will hire slightly more workers in the current quarter, even though they are still pessimistic when looking at future business conditions until the end of the year.
A net weighted balance - or the difference between the weighted percentages of those optimistic and pessimistic - of 3 per cent said they will increase hiring in the third quarter of 2016, the Department of Statistics (DOS) said on Friday.
Accommodation and real estate clusters are most upbeat about hiring, at 17 and 10 per cent respectively.
Retail trade and transport & storage clusters are the only two pessimistic ones, both registering balances of 6 per cent.
Services firms' mood on hiring is an upturn from what they expressed last quarter. In that poll, a balance of 2 per cent said they will cut down on hiring for the second quarter.
However, services firms in this quarter were still pessimistic about overall conditions from July to December. A 6 per cent balance said conditions in the second half of 2016 will be worse when compared to those in January to June.
Those optimistic took up 15 per cent, while pessimistic ones stood at 21 per cent. Majority saw no change in outlook.
The overall mood is better than the balance of 13 per cent in last quarter's survey who see conditions worsening from April to September.
But Friday's results are still decidedly less optimistic when compared to the same period last year. Back then, firms reported a balance of 2 per cent that said conditions would be better from July to December 2015, said DOS.
In Friday's results, firms in the accommodation and food & beverage clusters are some of the most optimistic, reporting balances of 21 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Five other clusters are marginally optimistic, ranging between balances of one and 5 per cent.
Three clusters see slower conditions. Real estate reported a balance of 20 per cent, wholesale trade at 19 per cent and transport and storage 11 per cent.
Separately, the Economic Development Board said on Friday manufacturers reported a balance of one per cent, who see worsening conditions from July to December this year.