SINGAPORE'S total employment contracted for the first time in five years as the number of people employed here fell by 6,100 in the first quarter of this year.
According to latest figures released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Monday, the Republic's total employment stood at 3,617,800 in March. This number, however, is still 2.7 per cent higher than a year ago.
The first-quarter contraction reflected "seasonal declines and sharper moderation" in employment growth in sectors with less favourable business conditions.
The country's unemployment rate declined slightly to 1.8 per cent in March amid fewer redundancies, down from 1.9 per cent three months ago. The unemployment rate fell over the quarter for residents (Singaporeans and permanent residents), from 2.7 per cent to 2.5 per cent; and for citizens, from 2.7 per cent to 2.6 per cent.
MOM said that Singapore's labour market remained tight in the first quarter of this year as job openings continued to outnumber job seekers.
An estimated 54,500 residents, including 47,800 citizens, were unemployed in March 2015. The seasonally adjusted figures were 56,500 for residents and 50,200 for citizens.
There were 3,500 redundancies in the first quarter. By workforce size, 1.7 workers were made redundant for every thousand employees in the first quarter, compared to 1.9 in the preceding quarter and 1.6 a year ago.