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Unemployment rate at 1.9% in March 2011
Friday, 03 June 2011

The unemployment rate in Singapore was last reported at 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Among the resident labour force, on the other hand, the unemployment rate declined over the same period from 3.1 per cent sa to 2.7 per cent.

According to the Ministry of Manpower, both the overall and resident unemployment rates are the lowest in three years.

The total employment expanded by 23,700 in Q1 2011, down from the seasonally-driven gains of 33,900 in Q4 2010. Hiring in services was reduced from 30,900 in Q4 2010 to 22,800 in Q1 2011 due to lower demand for workers in the hospitality-related segments. However, this was partially offset by the pickup in hiring in the financial services, business services and other services sectors, which together accounted for almost two-thirds of the jobs created in Q1 2011. Meanwhile, manufacturing reduced headcount by 500 while construction continued to expand employment modestly by 1,100 in Q1, primarily for the public-sector contracts. The seasonally-adjusted overall unemployment rate fell from 2.2% in December 2010 to 1.9% in March 2011. Similarly, the unemployment rate for the resident labour force declined from 3.1% to 2.7% over the same period. These rates are the lowest seen since Q4 2007. Reflecting the tight labour market, overall wages grew by 8.5% y-o-y in Q1 2011, up from 7.5% in the preceding quarter. The outlook for employment in the services sector remains bright, with a net-weighted 18% of firms projecting an increase in headcount in the latest Business Expectations Survey, compared to 15% in the preceding Survey. Employers in financial services are the most optimistic, with almost 40% expecting to hire in Q2. Manufacturers also intend to add workers in Q2, with hiring likely to be concentrated in transport engineering, chemicals and precision engineering.

[Source: MAS]

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