30 July 2010

Strong Job Creation Continues in Q2 2010

30 July 2010

Our preliminary estimates show that Q2 2010 employment grew by 26,500. Together with the first quarter’s employment gain of 36,500, we've created about 63,000 jobs in the first half of 2010.

Despite net employment growth in the second quarter, the resident unemployment rate has edged up slightly from  a seasonally adjusted 3.2% in March 2010 to 3.3% in June 2010. This is because there are new local entrants into the labour market, such as those who have just finished their education. So on balance, although there's a net  increase in jobs for locals, the resident unemployment has not reduced. 

It's reassuring to see redundancies dropping across sectors such as manufacturing, construction and services. Looking ahead, the unemployment appears to have broadly stabilised and the labour market outlook for 2010 is optimistic, with robust employment growth expected. The services sector remains the main source of job growth, fuelled by the two Integrated Resorts, new hotels such as the Grand Park Orchard announced this week, and new shopping malls in the heartlands.

What this means is that there will be more jobs for Singaporeans. However, given our tightening labour market and low unemployment rate, the increasing demand for additional manpower by businesses cannot be met by the resident workforce alone. To keep up with the pace of growth, we'll need to step up our efforts to improve productivity. In the short term, to prevent overheating the economy, employers may need to bring in additional foreign workers this year, despite the higher levy which took effect this month.

While we're riding on a strong economic growth, I'd like to urge employers not to be distracted from our productivity efforts and stay focused on our longer term - to strive for productivity-driven sustainable and inclusive growth. Everyone has a role in our productivity drive. Employers must do their part and lead this productivity drive, by innovating their business processes and looking for ways to reduce their dependence on foreign manpower. Workers can go for training and upgrading.

The Government will invest more in CET infrastructure and targeted programmes.  We will provide more help to low-waged, low-skilled workers through the Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme.  We will also provide more training opportunities for PMETs. The Government has committed $5.5 billion over the next five years towards productivity efforts and continuing education and training. We'll work with employers, union leaders and workers to achieve our goal to move Singapore into a productivity-driven economy.

Gan Kim Yong
Minister for Manpower

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