Total employment nosedives 103,500 in Q2

Overall unemployment rate rose to 2.8% in June.

Singapore’s total employment saw its sharpest plunge on record in Q2 with a 103,500 fall, excluding foreign domestic workers, bringing the total employment decline to 129,100 in H1 2020, according to the Labour Market Report released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Overall unemployment rates rose over the quarter in June to 2.8%, with resident unemployment hiking up to 3.8% and citizens to 4%, but remained below past recessionary highs, the ministry said. The fall in foreign employment (5.7% or 66,400) was steeper than that of locals (2.7% or 62,700).

Also read:Unemployment rate broadened to 2.4% in Q1

In addition, Q2 retrenchments (8,130) were now higher than the peak during the SARS period, but remained lower than the all-time high of the global financial crisis, with foreigners more likely to be retrenched than locals.

Job vacancies in June declined to 42,400, seasonally adjusted, the lowest since March 2010, but remained higher than the levels in previous recessions. Coupled with an increase in unemployed persons, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons declined further (0.57, seasonally adjusted), but stayed above previous recessionary lows.

The number of employees placed on short work-week or temporary layoff rose to a record-high 81,720 in Q2, totalling 85,910 employees for H1. Breaking down, some 42,190 were placed on short work-week, with locals forming the bulk of this group. Amongst the 43,720 workers on temporary layoff, majority were foreigners.

Average paid hours worked also recorded its biggest QoQ drop on record to 43.4 hours due to a reduction in overtime hours. On the other hand, labour turnover was feeble as employers deferred hiring and employees were less likely to leave their jobs.

Seasonally adjusted recruitment rate (1.1%) and resignation rate both fell 1.1% and 1.2%, respectively.

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