In the first quarter of 2015, unemployment dipped across Singapore because of decreased layoffs in the major industries.
The labor market remained strong as unemployment of citizens and residents fell, despite the decrease in employment growth from the seasonal highs at the beginning of the year.
Current estimates show that the total unemployment rate dropped from 1.9% in December 2014 to 1.8% by the end of March 2015 when seasonally adjusted. In March 2015, an estimated 54,500 residents were unemployed including 47,800 Singapore citizens.
So far in 2015, employment continues to grow but just at a slower pace compared to the seasonally adjust gains from the last quarter of 2014.
Such a moderation in employment growth during the first quarter is fairly common, since seasonal employees, who were hired to meet year-end goals and increased demand during Chinese New Year, leave employment in February.
But the moderation of employment was more significant this year when compared to previous years since Singapore saw a decline in the retail and cleaning industries.
After the employment gains in the first quarter of 2015, the total number of employed persons was 3,624,200. This is a 2.9% increase year over year. The same metric in December 2014 was higher at a 3.7% increase over December 2013.
Employment in services grew (9,300) but slower than last year (24,900), while manufacturing shrank (-6,400) more than the year before (-1,400) because of weakened exports.
Construction lost employees (-2,800) compared to the gains last year (4,700).
In the first quarter of 2015, the number of layoffs decreased. About 3,500 workers were made redundant in 2015 Q1 which was fewer than the previous quarter (3,910). But compared to the first quarter of 2014 (3,110), 1Q2015 saw more redundancies and layoffs.
All major sectors saw a simultaneous decrease in layoffs when compared to the previous quarter. The services industry comprised of 54% of all layoffs (1,900) which was followed by manufacturing (900 or 26%) and then construction (700 or 20%).
What do you think about the lowering unemployment rate for Singapore in the first quarter of 2015? Do you think 2015 will have a strong labor market?