In the advance release of the Labour Market report for 3Q 2017 by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, preliminary data show that the labour market held steady from 2Q 2017. The citizen unemployment rate improved slightly while the resident unemployment rate was unchanged. Retrenchments were similar in number to 2Q 2017, and have remained lower than last year since 1Q 2017. Total employment declined, largely reflecting a continued decrease in Work Permit Holders in Construction and Marine.

In September, an estimated 71,900 residents were unemployed, higher than 70,800 in June 2017. It declined for citizens, from 63,800 to 62,600. MOM’s preliminary estimates also showed that 3,600 workers were retrenched in the third quarter, less than the 3,640 workers let go in the previous quarter and 4,220 laid off in the same period last year. This is the third consecutive quarter where retrenchments have remained lower than the corresponding quarter a year ago, added MOM. Labour demand is expected to pick up in the fourth quarter of the year, in line with seasonal hiring as seen in previous years, said MOM.

Hiring remains cautious in sectors such as construction and marine, while job opportunities are available in other sectors particularly in infocomms and media, finance and insurance, healthcare, professional services and wholesale trade, it added.