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Jobless rate for Singaporeans edges up to 3.3% in Q2 with employers more cautious in hiring

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Unemployment for Singaporeans continued to rise as the pace of employment growth slowed in the second quarter of this year, amid trade tensions and global uncertainties.

UNEMPLOYMENT for Singaporeans continued to rise as the pace of employment growth slowed in the second quarter of this year, amid trade tensions and global uncertainties.

However, retrenchments dipped, according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released on Friday.

The unemployment rate for Singaporeans rose for the third consecutive quarter to 3.3 per cent in June, up from 3.2 per cent in March. This is after seasonal variations were taken into account.

The rate for Singaporeans and permanent residents combined rose to 3.1 per cent, up from 3 per cent, while the overall unemployment rate was unchanged, at 2.2 per cent.

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Layoffs fell to 2,300 from April to June, down from 3,230 in the preceding quarter and 3,030 in the second quarter of last year.

The ministry said the figures "suggest that most employers are not laying off existing workers, but exercising greater caution in hiring even when they have unfilled vacancies".

Thus the data showed employment growth slowed in the second quarter. Total employment, excluding maids, grew by 4,000, lower than the growth of 10,700 in the preceding quarter and 6,500 in the second quarter of last year.

The gains last quarter were mainly in sectors such as information and communications, professional services, financial services and community, social and personal services. But these were offset by the decline in employment in retail trade.

Construction continued to add workers, as a result of more public sector construction activities. Employment growth turned positive for the sector just this year, after 11 consecutive quarters of contraction.

But manufacturing continued to shed workers for the third consecutive quarter as output declined.

The ministry and Workforce Singapore (WSG) together with the labour movement and employers "are closely monitoring the labour market situation, and stand ready to step up support for Singaporeans under the Adapt and Grow initiative", MOM added in a media statement.

It highlighted the work of the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation, which is actively reaching out to retrenched workers to offer job matching services.

Jobseekers who need assistance can visit WSG's Careers Connect and the National Trades Union Congress-Employment and Employability Institute's career centres.

THE STRAITS TIMES