Retrenchments exceeded initial estimations, rising to 11,350 in the first half of 2020, revealed the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its latest labour market report.
According to advanced estimates forecast on July 29, there would be 9,920 layoffs in the first half of the year.
The 11,350 retrenchments in H1 2020 now exceeds the cuts experienced during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak. During Sars, there were 10,120 retrenchments in the first half of 2003.
However, this year’s number has yet to exceed that of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, when there were 12,760 layoffs.
Despite the retrenchments, resident unemployment rate in June was lower than expected at 3.8 per cent, relative to 3.9 per cent in advanced estimates.
Total employment also shrank by 103,500 between April and June, compared to initial estimates of 121,800. In total, employment shrank by 129,100 in the first half of 2020.
This marks the largest half-yearly reduction on record.
S’pore Sees More Job Vacancies
There are also fewer job vacancies in June, standing at 42,400, down from 46,300 in March.
The number of unemployed persons in Singapore exceeds the number of job vacancies, with the ratio standing at 0.57.
However, job vacancies have risen in sectors like financial services, wholesale trade, food-and-beverage services, administrative and support services and public administration and education.
In July, overall unemployment rose from 2.4 per cent to 2.9 per cent from the last quarter. This marked the highest level of unemployment in more than a decade.
On 17 August, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a S$1 billion Jobs Growth Incentive as part of S$8 billion worth of measures to bolster Singapore’s economy.
According to Minister Heng, Singapore’s labour market is “likely to remain weak beyond 2020” and a post-Covid-19 world “will not be business-as-usual.”
Featured Image Credit: HRM Asia