0239 GMT October 22, 2020
According to the latest labor market report released by the Ministry of Manpower on Monday, the overall unemployment rate crept up from 2.3 percent in the previous quarter to 2.4 percent, channelnewsasia.com reported.
The unemployment rate among Singapore citizens rose from 3.3 to 3.5 percent, and among residents — or Singapore citizens and permanent residents — from 3.2 percent to 3.3 percent.
The resident long-term unemployment rate, referring to individuals unemployed for at least 25 weeks, remained at 0.9 percent.
Retrenchments rose from 2,670 to 3,220 in the first quarter, largely due to sectoral downturns, the ministry said.
The ministry found that 1,537 local employees were affected by business closures in the first quarter of this year, which is more than double the 628 from the previous quarter.
An additional 4,190 employees were placed on shorter work hours or furloughs — a five-fold increase from the 840 in the preceding quarter, but lower than the 26,530 during the peak of the global financial crisis.
The ministry said that this means employers are choosing to make temporary adjustments to manage excess manpower and reduce business cost instead of letting people go.
The ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons tumbled to the lowest in a decade, from 0.84 in December 2019 to 0.71 in March this year. This means there were only seven openings for every 10 unemployed people in Singapore.
There were 46,300 job vacancies in March this year, compared to 52,700 in December last year.
The food and beverage, arts and entertainment, and administrative sectors saw the largest decline in job vacancies, while openings in areas like infocomm technology and healthcare increased.
Average weekly paid hours worked also went down by 0.3 hours over the quarter to 44.4 hours in March, reflecting a fall in paid overtime hours.