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Singapore sees lowest total employment growth since 2003: MOM

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Local employment in Singapore grew modestly in 2016, while foreign employment contracted, the Ministry of Manpower said on Thursday.

LOCAL employment in Singapore grew modestly in 2016, while foreign employment contracted, the Ministry of Manpower said on Thursday.

According to its 'Labour Market Advance Release 2016', total employment in 2016 is estimated to have increased by 16,400 or 0.4 per cent, lower than the 32,300 or 0.9 per cent in 2015. This was the lowest growth since 2003 (-12,900 or -0.6 per cent).

"The moderation in total employment in 2016 took place amid slower growth in the Singapore economy, slowdown in local labour force growth and continued tightening of the supply of foreign workforce,'' the manpower ministry said.

Local employment increased by an estimated 10,700 (or 0.5 per cent) in 2016. Growth occurred in many services sectors, including community, social and personal services, professional services and transportation and storage. On the other hand, foreign employment (excluding foreign domestic workers) contracted in 2016 (-2,500 or -0.2 per cent), the first time since 2009.

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The declines were mainly in construction and marine.

In December 2016, locals made up 66.4 per cent of persons employed in Singapore (excluding foreign domestic workers), with foreigners forming 33.6 per cent.

For the whole of 2016, redundancies rose to 19,000, going up steadily since 2010. Layoffs generally increased across all three broad sectors.

Year-on-year, the nominal median income (including employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed Singaporeans rose by 0.7 per cent to S$3,823 in 2016, or 1.3 per cent in real terms (after adjusting for negative inflation). This moderated from the increase of 6.5 per cent (nominal) and 7.0 per cent (real) in 2015.

As for the fourth quarter of 2016, preliminary estimates showed that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for overall rose from 2.1 per cent in September 2016 to 2.2 per cent in December 2016, residents (2.9 to 3.2 per cent) and citizens (3.0 to 3.5 per cent).

"This occurred even as employment grew as more people entered the labour force to look for work,'' MOM said.

Due to seasonal hiring for year-end festivities, total employment grew in the fourth quarter of 2016 (1,900), compared to the contraction in the third quarter (-2,700), but growth was lower than a year ago (16,100).

Some 5,300 workers were laid off in the fourth quarter of 2016, higher than the third quarter (4,220), but similar to a year ago (5,370).

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